Webinar “Challenges of extension of pedestrian zones in cities”
The first of this year’s CIVINET Slo-Cro-JIE webinars, held on February 25, 2022, was organized by ODRAZ as the secretariat of the CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-SEE network within the CLIMASUM project. Around 60 participants had the opportunity to hear about the examples of planning and implementing of the pedestrian zones in Zagreb, Sisak, Ljubljana and Kruševac.
Participants were very interested in the webinar due to different approach to this topic. There were analyzed both the advantages of extension of pedestrian zones and the challenges that usually occur during the process of extension. Pedestrian zones contribute to a better quality of life for citizens, economic prosperity and greening in many cities.
Hrvoje Pilko from the Zagreb City Administration spoke at the webinar about the planning of the green oasis in the City of Zagreb. He cited the examples of traffic studies conducted in the City of Zagreb and examples of reducing traffic pressure in the city center by reducing the volume of road traffic and by expanding green oases like the one around Zagreb Main Railway Station. The development of SUMP is planned to make it easier to prioritize and implement activities that will contribute to better mobility in the City of Zagreb.
Mario Ćosić from the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences in Zagreb presented the extension of pedestrian zone in Sisak. After the expansion of the pedestrian zone, the number of traffic accidents decreased, which increased safety of all traffic participants. In addition, the benefit of expanding the pedestrian zone is the reduction of noise, lower levels of carbon dioxide and an overall increase in the quality of life of residents. Communication with the citizens and representatives of the City of Sisak was crucial for the quality implementation of the SUMP, within which the pedestrian zones have been expanded. The negative aspects were the high investment costs.
Vita Kontić Bezjak form the Ljubljana City Administration introduced the participants to how the expansion of the pedestrian zone affects the quality of life of citizens on the example of the Ljubljana center. The initial resistance to the changes by the citizens was replaced with the better quality of life in the city. Additionally, larger number of tourists was recorded. Campaigns for a more pleasant coexistence of pedestrians and cyclists in the expanded area are currently in progress. Such extensive changes also require large investments, but with adequate preparation, it is possible to apply for projects to various EU funds.
Jelena Brković and Jelena Nikolić from the City of Kruševac Administration prepared a presentation about the challenges in Kruševac center transformation. The presentation clearly shows the transformation of Kruševac with the situation before and after the implemented measures to improve urban mobility. In 2017, Kruševac developed the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan on its own initiative and in 2020 it was the winner of the European Sustainable Mobility Week in the category of large cities because it managed to significantly encourage citizens to use alternative modes of transport.
One could notice that all the presented examples emphasize the importance of involving a larger number of stakeholders through consultations and education in order to reduce the negative reactions after the extension of pedestrian zones. Quality research and planning reduce the possibility of traffic jams on the rest of the road network. Given the larger investments, there is a possibility of temporarily turning a certain area into a pedestrian zone and later carrying out more permanent interventions if the project meets with public approval.
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).