It’s an ambitious goal indeed: to double the number of cycle paths in just a few years throughout Emilia-Romagna. The region has launched the law to support a renewed approach in bicycle mobility. For this reason, they will invest 10 million euros in this green sector. Along with other investments, such as the 5 million euros the creation of bike paths parallel to the Bologna-Verona railway line, and the total sum comes to 25 million euros between now and 2020.
The E.R. president Stefano Bonaccini commented, that “We are a region with a history and a tradition in the use of the bicycle. Traffic cannot be limited to bicycles or public transport, but we want to strengthen them in order to have the right mix and also contribute to the fight against atmospheric pollution.” One of the objectives of the law is to stimulate the construction and extension of them. Councillor for Infrastructure and Transport, Raffaele Donini added, “broken cycles lanes are a problem in Emilia-Romagna, as we have a regional network of them. But also the maintenance of those on slopes or hill sides too, are often abandoned to their fate, and soon turned into impassable tracks or become too dangerous to use.”
However, the funding for the new paths will be conditional on precise commitments on behalf of the municipalities. “We will ask the municipalities to provide a kind of economic management plan, because we do not want cycle lanes built which are subsequently not maintained,” Donini firmly stated. He also would like to see a Velostazione in every province “to promote inter-modality,” modelled on the one in Bologna, close to both the central rail and bus stations.
Among the peculiarities created by the new law includes the obligation to build bike paths for each new road or major maintenance of an existing road. The law already provides for this obligation, but it is too often ignored logistically or specific characteristics of the land. The region therefore planned for the provision that bike lanes can also be created “not adjacent” to the road. Bibi Bellini from FIAB (Italian Federation of Friends of the Bicycle) emphasized that this law is “an important step in the direction of a change of perspective. “Our region,” he highlighted during the press conference held alongside Bonaccini and Donini, “is one of the most polluted regions in Europe. It has a very high motorisation rate but also has, due to its flatness, a much potential for bike mobility.” The law also includes the creation of spaces and a bike deposit “in residential buildings and in public places.”
Further actions mean that more areas will be identified to reduce speed, the construction of new “30 zone” and the promotion of “folding bikes” so they can be transported more easily on public transport. The new residential buildings must be equipped with spaces to accommodate bicycles in the yard or in dedicated areas. In addition, “the provision of regional grants will be awarded to projects involving forms of supervision also through video surveillance, user services (repair, air pumps and renting) near the Velostazione, and officially registering bicycles.”