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''Podgorica on two wheels''
City/Region : Capital city Podgorica , Montenegro

"Podgorica on two wheels", is a new and original way to improve the quality of life in the capital city through the promotion of alternative modes of transport. The Capital city has allocated 20,000 euros in the 2019 budget, while in 2020 it has set aside 60,000 euros for this purpose. The aim of this project is to motivate the citizens of Podgorica to use bicycles to a greater extent as the main means of transport - which will make Podgorica greener and more pleasant to live. For the third cycle in 2020, funds were allocated for subsidizing electric scooters.

 

Agendas addressed
DecarbonisationUrban mobilityWater resources and air quality
Climate changePublic spaceSocial inclusion and integration
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Accelerate sustainability and innovation through public procurement
Context

Podgorica has a population of 187,085, which represents 30% of the total Montenegrin population. Most of the urban core of the Capital is mostly flat, and is characterized by a sub-Mediterranean climate.

 A total of 211,145 vehicles are registered in Montenegro, which practically means that almost every third inhabitant of our country owns a means of transport. According to the official State of the Environment Report, the average age of passenger cars is around 12 years - which further exacerbates environmental pollution. 

In Podgorica, the number of cars has increased by more than 20% in the last four years, while only 5% of Podgorica residents are pedestrians, and the number of cyclists is even negligible. Podgorica with its relief and climate, has the potential for a good infrastructure for cyclists, and so Podgorica can be a beautiful place to live, a city that is visited more and more often!

In Action

Podgorica faces a series of traffic problems that result in congestion, high levels of noise and air pollution, frequent traffic accidents and the conversion of public spaces into formal and informal car parks. These problems are to some extent present in almost all cities of the world; the response to them and the strategy for achieving a more efficient future transport system make all the difference.

As a result, the Capital City of Podgorica has launched a bicycle subsidy initiative, which is only part of what the Capital City has been doing for years to improve the quality of life by motivating people to turn to healthy lifestyles.

"Our city is almost completely flat and as such favorable for the development of this type of transport. We have taken advantage of our comparative advantage and built four new bike path corridors over the past few years. We have one left, but we will not stop there. In the next month or two, we will get new 500 meters of bicycle paths in Gorica and we will try to build bicycle paths wherever there are planned preconditions for that, primarily within new streets and boulevards, in order to create conditions for people to turn to this type of transport. We will continue with this action, because we are very motivated and satisfied with how the citizens reacted and we announce that we will do our best to realize another cycle of this project by the end of the year, all in the hope that when this city administration ends its mandate, at least 500 new cyclists. It's all part of the story of the transformation of Podgorica into a city that is green and a beautiful place to live. " We will also start the phased closing of the city center for cars. That means savings and a positive effect on the health of our fellow citizens, "said Mayor Dr. Ivan Vukovic.

The main actors in this action are the citizens of Podgorica and the city services, and as the main goals of the action we single out:

- environmental protection;

- encouraging a healthy lifestyle;

- development of bicycle traffic;

- social interaction;

- lower noise level and more green areas.

Results

The Capital City believes that "Podgorica on two wheels" will raise awareness of the use of alternative modes of transport and mobility, the need to protect the environment, preserve health and improve the quality of life of citizens, both in Podgorica and throughout Montenegro.

The project will provide:

- a larger number of bicycle users;

- fewer motor vehicles on the city streets (less traffic jams);

- lower level of environmental pollution;

- improving the quality of life;

- fewer traffic accidents;

- lower transport costs,

- increased attractiveness of the visual identity of the city of Podgorica, thus a larger number of tourists.

As a result of this action, we also state that the city center will be closed to motorized traffic, and thus create a bike-friendly climate - which will contribute to strengthening social connections and integration.

However, in addition to the mentioned benefits, there are also project risks:

- higher / lower demand for bicycles;

- theft and vandalism;

- disagreements with pedestrians;

- disagreements with other traffic participants.

Impact

In terms of sustainability, bicycles are an ideal transportation option. They do not require oil, cost less and are less dangerous than cars, are smaller in size and allow for a healthy lifestyle.

By increasing the number of bicycles on the streets of our city:

- we will reduce pollution, reduce noise levels, improve local life and living conditions - which leads to;

- improving the physical and mental health of citizens - leading to;

- improvements in integration, higher productivity, greater security and improvements in quality of life.

The project may also have a partial impact on employment in the implementation phase: due to an increase in the number of bicycles - which will require long-term repairs, procurement and sale of equipment.

Ultimately, the project "Podgorica on Two Wheels" encouraged citizens to turn to healthy lifestyles and to use a bicycle in their daily activities - as a substitute for a car - which leads to --->

                   ---> Podgorica is becoming a greener, healthier, more accessible and more successful city for all of us!

Challenges and lessons learned

CHALLENGE: It is difficult to change people's opinion about the safety of bicycle use in traffic, due to the insufficient number of bicycle paths and inadequate infrastructure.

LESSON: The city must set ambitious and long-term goals, but at the same time it must act in the short term with visible actions that help to transform the daily habits of citizens into more sustainable ones.

The fact that one can cross from one end of the city to the other in a maximum of fifteen minutes confirms that quality cycling infrastructure is the best investment that the Capital City should undertake. 

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Contact

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
European Secretariat

Leopoldring 3
79098 Freiburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 0
Fax: +49 (0) 761 – 368 92 19

E-mail: info@sustainablecities.eu
Website: www.sustainablecities.eu

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