The kick-off meeting of the project took place on April 21, at Polotsk District Executive Committee. Its participants noted that the Mobility Plan should reflect Polotsk residents' opinions and recommendations, as well as the development of the transport communications in the entire Polotsk-Novopolotsk agglomeration.
The event was attended by the city authorities and representatives of the Belarusian Union of Transport Entities, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning (BelNIIPgradostroitelsva), State Automobile Inspectorate, Polotsk Housing and Utilities Enterprises, City Bus Depot №2, and other public and state organizations. Head of Interakcia Foundation, Ivan Shchadranok, believes that such representation of various interests is absolutely natural, since reaching success in work on a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Polotsk requires long-term solutions to many interwoven issues related to urban planning, vehicle and passenger flows.
In his presentation at the beginning of the meeting, Head of Interakcia also reminded that one of the key aims of the initiative is to enhance competence of the city authorities in urban mobility issues and to create conditions favorable to active participation of Polotsk residents in planning of the transport communications. Therefore, several educational seminars will be conducted within the project. Also, Belarusian experts will visit Murcia, the Spanish city that has been recently awarded a special European Union's accolade for its achievements in developing urban mobility.
Ivan Shchadranok tells about stages within the development of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan
In order to allow Polotsk residents to have a direct impact on changes in the transportation infrastructure the special Public Working Group will be created. On a permanent basis, it will deliver Polotsk citizens' opinions on such important issues of sustainable urban mobility as optimization of bus routes, construction of new parking spots, roundabouts, or bicycle roads. Moreover, such issues will be considered at public hearings.
However, Deputy Chairman of Polotsk District Executive Committee, Sergei Leichenko, stated that it is important to look fo for comprehensive approaches, without giving priority to anyone’s interests, be it pedestrians, car drivers, passengers, or cyclists. He also underscored that it is necessary to synchronize a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Polotsk with urban mobility developments in Novopolotsk (in fact, the two cities comprise one urban formation). This opinion was supported by the all participants of the meeting, especially given the fact that the Conception of urban mobility for Novopolotsk had been already created by the Belarusian Union of Transport Entities. The experts agreed on the fact that this Conception should be reflected in the Plan.