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Budapest Bicycling: Which Way Forward?

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Budapest Bicycling: Which Way Forward?. Greg Spencer, REC [email protected] ELTIS Training Session April 14-15, 2008 Szentendre. Background of Cycling in Hungary Utilitarian Cycling in Budapest Today Critical Mass in Budapest Why Paris is a Good Example for Budapest Conclusion.

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slide1
Budapest Bicycling:Which Way Forward?

Greg Spencer, REC

[email protected]

ELTIS Training Session

April 14-15, 2008

Szentendre

points in this presentation
Background of Cycling in Hungary

Utilitarian Cycling in Budapest Today

Critical Mass in Budapest

Why Paris is a Good Example for Budapest

Conclusion

Points in this Presentation

www.eltis.org

background
Bicycle widely used in Hungary during planned economy (and elsewhere in Socialist bloc) because it was inexpensive but …

lingering stigma today of bike of ‘proletarian’ transport

Background

www.eltis.org

background continued5
Influence of car lobby in Budapest politics

2005 proposal for city-wide parking fees struck down by media, angry motorists

Slager Radio talk-show host Gabor Bochkor, Sept. 2005. “You know what I’d do with a bicyclist? Lock him in a garage and start the motor of my car.”

Background continued

Rakoczi ut

  • City Hall breaks promise of bike lanes on Rakoczi ut because there’s ‘no room’

www.eltis.org

state of play in budapest cycling levels
State of play in Budapest: Cycling Levels
  • 1-2% modal share, on par with Prague, Warsaw
  • Less cycling during weekdays than weekends

www.eltis.org

state of play in budapest infrastructure8
First path (10 km Budapest-Szentendre) built in 1987 for recreational purposes

Currently, 140-150 km of cycling paths, but 2/3 just painted lineson sidewalks

State of play in Budapest: Infrastructure

www.eltis.org

state of play in budapest infrastructure9
Paths mainly on one side of street only

No coherentnetwork (~500 km needed to cover full city)

Paths lead to nowhere

State of play in Budapest: Infrastructure

www.eltis.org

state of play in budapest city spending
Late 1990-2001: EUR 400,000/year -- less than 1/10th of 1% of city budget -- for construction of ~10km paths/year

2002: Spending frozen

New policy: Bicycle projects can only be carried out if piggybacked onto larger road building projects

State of play in Budapest: City Spending

www.eltis.org

critical mass continued
Twice annual ride with police escort (Car-Free Day in Fall, Earth Day in Spring)

Attendance climbing steadily

Fall 2004: 4,500

Spring 2005: 10,000

Fall 2006: 20,000

Spring 2006: 32,000

Fall 2006: Called off due to unrelated street riots

Spring 2007: 50,000

Critical Mass continued

www.eltis.org

critical mass continued13
Mayor Gabor Demszky’s response day after Earth Day 2005 Critical Mass:Critical Mass continued

‘It’s not worth spending a more serious amount on bike paths, because 140 km of paths have already been built and just a few people use them.’

www.eltis.org

the parisian example
The Parisianexample
  • Despite hosting the Tour de France and having invented the velocipede, the French, at least in Paris, don’t have a tradition of using bicycles as transport
  • Until recent years, Paris had almost no urban cyclists

www.eltis.org

the parisian example continued
In 1995, Paris Mayor Jean Tibéri began promoting bicycling as a way to give his new administration personality.

That winter, a month-long transport strike made bicycles one of the only ways to travel in Paris.

The Parisian example continued

www.eltis.org

the parisian example continued16
The Parisian example continued
  • Bicycling as transport has been a priority for two consecutive mayoral administrations
  • Mayor Delanoë openly confronts car problem:“I will fight, with all the means at my disposal, against the harmful, ever-increasing and unacceptable hegemony of the automobile.”

Mayor Betrand Delanoë

www.eltis.org

the parisian example continued17
From 1995 to 2004, the city built 290.7 km cycling lanes, half of which are separated from both foot and vehicle trafficThe Parisian example continued

www.eltis.org

the parisian example continued18
Mayor’s Office spent EUR 4 million/year on cycling, including infrastructure building and maintenance and other promotional measures (2005 data)The Parisian example continued

www.eltis.org

the parisian example continued19
Other bike-friendly measures

‘Paris Breathes’ event, which closes streets to motor traffic in several areas during weekends

‘The Plage’, in which the banks of the Seine are reserved for pedestrians, skaters and cyclists during summer

Below-30 km/hr zones, where motor traffic is slowed and through traffic restricted

Real estate developers required to provide certain amount of ‘two-wheeler’ parking accommodation

The Parisian example continued

www.eltis.org

the parisian example continued21
Other bike-friendly measures

Bicycle promotions on city website and in print media

Velib – bike rental scheme introduced in 2007, with plans for ~1,500 stations and 20,000+ bicycles

The Parisian example continued

www.eltis.org

conclusions
Bike use will increase if there’s demand and city makes right investments

In tight urban spaces, can’t build proper cycling infrastructure without taking space from cars

Conclusions

www.eltis.org

slide25
Thank you for your attention!

Greg Spencer

e-mail: [email protected]

web: www.rec.org

tel.: (36-26) 504-000; ext.208

www.eltis.org

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