By Peter Stevenson
LARNACA Municipality is planning to create a bicycle lane network 50 km long aimed at promoting alternative modes of transport Mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis announced to mark European Mobility Week.
The annual event, which ends on Sunday, sees more than 2,000 cities around Europe engaging in activities to create a more sustainable mobility culture. This year’s slogan ‘Clean air – It’s your move!’ and aims to raise awareness about the impact of transport on air quality.
The Mayor told the Cyprus News Agency that due to Larnaca’s low terrain and relatively small radius it has all of the qualities needed to sustain alternative modes of transport like bicycles and cars with low carbon emissions.
“We have prepared a small video clip called ‘Larnaca, it’s your move’ in cooperation with the company ZEDEM. It was specially funded by the EU through the European Mobility Week via Europe Direct Larnaca,” Louroudjiatis said.
The 12 months have been named ‘The Year of Sustainable Mobility for Larnaca Municipality’ the Mayor added.
“This will include working on new projects, meetings and contacts with relevant organisations and services that will create a plan for the year to follow,” he said. It will also include active involvement in the organisation of public transport, measures to promote road safety for all road users, ensuring functional and safe accessibility for persons with disabilities in areas of increased traffic and efforts to upgrade the quality of urban space.
The mayor said that municipality workers, in cooperation with local bus company Zenon would attempt to inform the public about daily bus routes they could use instead of taking their cars. The bicycle network was another goal, he said.
“Larnaca has all of the attributes needed to help it become a cycling town. A lack of infrastructure has not helped the use of bicycles but there are still people who dare and a large group of people who want a bicycle lane,” he said.
The bicycle lane would be created along the Larnaca Dhekelia road and along Artemidos and Nikos and Despinas Pattihi Avenues. “By the end of 2014 there will be a fully completed bicycle network of around 30 kilometres,” he said.
The municipality will also cooperate with the Dutch embassy in Cyprus and by the end of this year, with the help of experts, will put forward a detailed plan to create a complete bicycle network more than 50 kilometres long, the mayor said.
“As part of the effort of the municipality to promote cycling as an alternative means of transport, leisure and sport, we will take any member of the public’s bicycle, free of charge, to a bicycle repair shop if it is need of any maintenance,” he said.
The municipality is also looking at creating four strategically placed spots where bicycles can be repaired in emergency situations. Two of those spots will be opened soon, one on the coastal pedestrian area of Makenzy beach and the other at Europe Square, the mayor revealed.
There will also be bicycle stations at the municipal market, at the public library and at other places around the town.
Louroudjiatis also said that municipality garbage trucks would be altered to use bio-fuel and that special parking places created for cars with Co2 emissions lower than 120 g/km, plus special spaces for eco-friendly cars in a similar way to those allocared to disabled drivers.