On July 7, the first meeting of the Public Working Group on urban mobility issues took place. In coopeartion with experts, the Group members will be designing a strategy to improve the traffic and transportation situation in the city.
This strategy should be presented no later than by the beginning of 2017, in the form of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. This blueprint is being created thanks to financial support from the European Union. Interakcia Foundation and Polotsk District Executive Committee act as partners in the project. It is expected that the document will concern such issues as construction of new roads and junctions, organization of new bus routes, creation of bicycle lanes and parking spots for bicycles.
Such complicated questions require profound expertise; therefore, relevant specialists will be attracted to the project through a series of tenders. However, the Public Working Group should ensure that Polotsk dwellers’ interests are indeed reflected in a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan.
“First of all, the Public Working Group includes representatives of public associations. Here are some of them: Ecodom (lit.: Ecological House), Komitet Obschestvennogo Samoupravleniya (lit.: Committee on Public Self-Governance), Belorusskoe Obschestvo Invalidov (lit.: Belarusian Association of People with Disabilities). Furthermore, a major construction company has demonstrated interest in the project, plus representatives of a Polotsk and Novopolotsk bicycle community would like to work with us. However, it is not obligatory for one to be a member of some public association or NGO to enter the Group. It is enough to have a proactive civic position and willingness to influence the home city's development,” – noted Anton Radniankou, Interakcia's Project Manager.
Discussing the Statute of the Public Working Group
One of the major issues discussed at the first meeting of the Public Working Group was the quality of work of the city municipal busses and minibus taxis. The participants agreed that more public transportation vehicles are needed, and also suggested installing new, more detailed timetables at bus stops (the current timetables only tell time intervals between arrivals). A special attention was paid to the growing demand for parking centers for personal vehicles.
The next meeting of the Public Working Group should take place in August, just before the launch of a competition for organizations who want to develop a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. The Public Working Group will have an opportunity to present its ideas of how to improve a requirements specification for the winning organization as well as criteria of how to chose the winner.