Rīga plans substantial investments in bicycle infrastructure

Rīga plans to spend up to €10 million this year for the construction of bicycle infrastructure and will form a special department for the purpose, Latvian Radio reported January 18.  

This year, the capital is expected to actively continue developing infrastructure. It is planned to build Imanta-Daugavgrīva and Ziepniekkalns-Center bicycle lanes, and some smaller ones in neighborhoods.

Māris Jansons, head of the Riga Alliance of Neighborhoods, commented on the council's plans: “I appreciate the bicycle infrastructure department more than the lanes themselves. The story is that Riga has invested very little in infrastructure over the last ten years. In the bicycle infrastructure, relatively even less."

On the other hand, the architect Oto Ozols from the association City for People is skeptical of the idea: "Projects that have been launched several years ago will be carried out. They have come from the previous mayor and the one before that. Basically, we do their jobs."

On the other hand, the Olafs Pulks, head of the transport affairs committee of the city council, said: “First of all, taxpayers have already paid for the design of these projects, and State audits the execution. The government demands that there be high-readiness projects submitted for funding. So there's no way to ask for a design now, then it takes time for the design." Specific tasks have not been outlined yet, said Pulks.

Urban planning director Neils Balgalis said that he would like to see more ambition in the City Council's activities, because for the time being, only old projects are being carried out.

He also said the bicycle traffic infrastructure in the city is rather fragmented, which doesn't invite residents and guests to move more by bicycle.

Balgalis pointed to the balance between the interests of cyclists and motorists: “We can find a balance when a person makes rational decisions – to be able to change ways of movement. The task of the municipality is to be able to create a system so that we can use, interchange [different modes of movement]."

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