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Velobraucēji kritizē jauno nobrauktuvi zem Salu tilta

Cyclists disappointed with new Salu bridge ramp

The freshly reconstructed pedestrian and cyclist tunnel in Rīga, on Maskavas street under the Salu Bridge, has proved to be a real trap for cyclists. There are several turns that block the visibility, and if the bike has cargo, there is no room to turn at all, Latvian Television reported May 30.

LTV spoke to cyclist Ņikita Cunskis whose bicycle has a doggie box in the front. The new tunnel is not designed for such. 

"I spotted at least two points where I could hit someone. Easily. Even with a normal bike," Ņikita said.

Due to many uncertainties, the owners of the nearest house, Maskavas Street 68, also objected. After reconstruction, one can drive up to the house but not leave without turning around on the sidewalk.

"Both pedestrians and cyclists need additional signage. This was not taken into account. One major accident already took place. They're driving here through the pedestrian crossings. A right mess," said Jānis Andržejevskis, co-owner of the building on Maskavas Street.

The “City for People” Alliance, which aims at a safe urban environment, insists that the project needs to be redone. “There's enough municipal land to make a flat ramp. So that people can go in and out, so they don't have to step off," said Andrejs Oliņš, representative of the alliance.

The Riga City Council's Transport Department said that the new solution was 'much better than the previous one'. A straight ramp would cost too much, said Jānis Vaivods,  director of the Riga City Council Transport Department.

The ramp is also designed for wheelchairs. “That is why there are these possible stops so that people with disabilities can stop and relax. The project has been evaluated and it has been agreed upon and recognized by the responsible authorities as safe,” said Vaivods.

The European funding prevents any rebuilding over the next five years, and the price jump in construction also makes it impossible to straighten the ramp in at least the next few years.

It must be noted that similar bending ramps are found near railway crossings, and due to the difficult or near impossible maneuvering cyclists often choose to ride straight down the lawn if possible.

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