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Riga criticized over 12 km bike path plan

The Riga city plan to build a 12 km, €3m bike path connecting the Imanta and Daugavgrīva neighborhoods has been criticized as non-priority, reports Latvian Radio. 

A total 337 trees in the way of the path will be cut down, however the top complaint of city planning experts is that such a path will scarcely be useful in comparison to more important ones that are harder to figure out.

The planned path (top left in the map) would stretch from Imanta to Lāčupe, subsequently running through the Spilve meadows and woods and ending on Lēpju st. in Daugavgrīva after crossing the Buļļupe river.

Riga City Council representative Beāta Dambīte says the planned bike path would serve as a recreation spot for the locals. It would improve traffic safety and connect two neighborhoods without any streets having to be rebuilt. 

However the Pilsēta cilvēkiem (The City for Human Beings) urban design expert Kaspars Zanbergs questions the relative importance of making the path. Zanbergs says that bike paths should instead first be laid to connect large neighborhoods to the center of the city first.

"Imanta residents will be able to go to the seaside in the summer. That's nice, but is that the most important problem? I doubt it," he tells Latvian Radio.

Romāns Meļņiks, a board member at the Cyclists' Association shares his opinion in saying that infrastructure for everyday cyclists going to school or work should be prioritized instead.

Pilsēta cilvēkiem suggest that Riga is doing what's easy but not most useful as creating bike paths on existing infrastructure requires planning that's not just strong-willed but smart.

Riga City Council representative Beāta Dambīte meanwhile claims that the municipality is developing several projects in parallel.

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