In the middle of June, Polotsk officially became the first Belarusian participant of the CIVITAS initiative. All its members are willing to improve urban mobility in sustainable ways, not harming the environment. These exact principles lay in the very core of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan that Polotsk should start implementing at the end of this year. Interakcia Foundation and Polotsk government are coordinating the development of the Plan, while the European Union provided funding for the project.
Besides Polotsk, CIVITAS has already welcomed 250 cities: from Tallinn to Porto, from Berlin to Tel Aviv. The initiative provides its participants with additional opportunities to efficiently exchange know-hows, technologies, and approaches in the field of public transportation. Such exchanges culminate annually at grand conferences for experts and officials representing the supporters of the initiative. In 2016, the Polish city of Gdynia will be hosting the event.
Polotsk joined CIVITAS as the first Belarusian city that had embarked on the development of a comprehensive sustainable urban mobility plan, that is, a new sustainable transportation strategy. As expected, this document will emphasize the need to expand the network of public bus routes in Polotsk as well as to create bicycle lanes. This year's summer or fall, the city's first bicyle lane will connect the downtown area with a major residential neighborhood.
Polotsk residents may expect to have a look at the final version of the Plan at the end of this year. The project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by Interakcia Foundation and Polotsk government. Furthermore, in September, Polotsk will host its second European Mobility Week, a festival of eco-friendly means of transportation, which is celebrated annually in hundreds of European cities.