“Those traveling by public transport or by car can see that there is a large and not too much used green area along the Daugava,” said Deputy Head of the newly created Velo-Infrastructure Division of Riga City Council Oto Ozols.
The 400-meter-long cycling path connecting the Akmens Bridge to the Railway Bridge will be a significant connection, Ozols said, adding that it will allow getting to Old Town, center, and even to the farther-away Dārziņi neighborhood.
There are some cycling paths in Rīga but not to all neighborhoods; for example, one can go from the center to Vecāķi, Imanta, Berģi, and for a couple of months now – to Ziepniekkalns.
Overall, in the capital, the cycling network is approximately 120 kilometers long, and the connection between Imanta and Daugavgrīva is further connected. But they do not form a single network, which has been pointed out many times by environmental activists and experts. The municipality has listened to this and plans to build a further number of roadways by 2026, and substantial connections between them will be established.
Ozols said that the plan included four main directions: “The direction of Ķekava that will start from the National Library. The other is the direction of Ulbroka, which will start from the Deglava bridge and lead down Deglava Street. The third is the direction of Imanta, where there is currently an existing velo-infrastructure, but it will be completely transformed and constructed according to modern standards. It will lead toward Babīte and Piņķi. Dzelzavas Street will be rebuilt with cycling paths on both sides of the street.”
The design of these paths will cost the municipality around €1.6 million. Construction costs, which are not yet known, will also have to be calculated, according to the head of the City Council's Transport and Traffic Committee, Olafs Pulks (New Unity).
It is also planned to create a connection from Tērbatas Street to Skolas Street. After repair works of several bridges built in Soviet times, it would be convenient to cycle across, for example, Gustava Zemgala Drive, Zemitānu, and Gaisa Bridge. The cycling trails are also planned to be developed in neighborhoods, such as Berģi, Upesciems, Granīta and Biķernieku Street, from the IKEA shop to the village of Papīrfabrika.
The plans of the municipality are highly valued in the “City for People” association, while indicating that the paths will not solve a serious problem of Rīga, namely that people don't want to live in Rīga anymore.
The organization's spokesman Armands Būmanis noted: “Efforts must be made not only to build those roads, but also to develop the surrounding infrastructure, with a direct emphasis on the green infrastructure, to make the streets more cohesive to the local population living there, as the cycling lanes alone are a very, very big step forward, but we must recover the life in the center of the city."