European Mobility Week 2013

22 Sep 2013

imageCycling through Belgrade

The European Mobility Week (EMW) was celebrated in Belgrade from 16 to 22 September 2013. EMW is a campaign dedicated to sustainable urban mobility, organized annually with the support of the Directorates-General for the Environment and Transport of the European Commission. This year’s EMW was the third campaign in a raw organized by the “Support to Sustainable Transport in the City of Belgrade”, project implemented by UNDP, Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection and the City of Belgrade. The theme of the EMW was “Clean Air – It’s Your Move!”

 

Day one was dedicated to promotion of public transportation. High officials from UNDP in Serbia, EU Delegation and Secretariat for Transport  traveled by the public bus from New Belgrade to the city center, where they joined an international conference on environment and mobility. Belgrade is not only advocating the importance of public transport: city authorities recently signed a contract for the purchase of 200 new environmental friendly buses, 55 of which have been already delivered and in use together with 30 new trams.

 

UNDP donated 20 bicycles and parking racks last year to the Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection and introduced a bike sharing system for the ministry’s staff. Building on this initiative, a new contingent of 20 bicycles was handed over to the Ministry. Until a public bike sharing system becomes available in Belgrade, the public servants will act as trend setters, demonstrating that using a bicycle for daily commuting is a feasible solution.

 

UNDP has already trained professional public transport drivers in eco-driving, a new driving technique that brings economic, environmental and safety benefits. During the day two a workshop on eco-driving was offered to the wider audience.  

 

UNDP supported the “Park and Ride” system, which allows drivers to leave their cars on three parking locations on the edge of central Belgrade, where they can take electric bikes and continue their journey through the city in an environment-friendly manner. This system was promoted on day three through a short distance ride at the “Milan Gale Muskatirovic” sports center, which gathered a number of City officials and guests.

 

On day four, top 50 photos from the “I Love Cycling” photo contest were exhibited in the  “Ozone” gallery. The authors of five best works – Goran Ivetic, Jan Valo, Lazar Zarupski, Aleksandar Gazibara and Snezana Lukic  received a bicycle as award.

 

On day five a “Clean Air” workshop took place in the Palace of Serbia. It brought together environmental protection, climate change, transport and public health professionals who had the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas.

 

A traditional city bicycle ride took place on day six. Several hundreds of riders gathered and cycled from the downtown to the Usce skate park. The first 250 participants who have applied for the event received t-shirts and the luckiest five - a bicycle.

 

The EMW closing ceremony is known as the “Car-Free Day”. On day seven a downtown Belgrade was traditionally closed for motorized traffic and cyclists and pedestrians enjoyed the city streets without usual traffic jam and noise.

 

This EWM was the last one that will be supported by the “Support to Sustainable Transport in the City of Belgrade” project, which will end in May 2014. But the good news is that the next EMW will be organized by the Belgrade authorities. The dedication and focus of representatives of national, local and international institutions which were involved in the organization of the seven days campaign is a good sign that the European Mobility Week in Belgrade will last for many years to come.