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Budapest Leadership Plans to Raise Cycling Transport Share in Downtown Traffic

Ábrahám Vass 2019.12.12.

“The share of cycling transport could be raised up to 30-40% in downtown Pest,” said Samu Balogh, Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony’s chief of staff, in an interview with liberal weekly Magyar Narancs, insisting that they would put a lot more emphasis on sustainable modes of transport than the previous leadership.

Sustainable and more environment-friendly urban transport was one of the focuses of Karácsony’s campaign, who himself arrived on bicycle at the first Assembly meeting. Balogh said their goal is to reduce both the amount and the distance of urban journeys so that it could be served by public transport, or walking and cycling. He criticized former Fidesz-backed mayor István Tarlós for (allegedly) favoring the car-traffic in the city.

According to their mobility plan, the share of cycling transport would be shortly raised to 10%, adding that in the downtown area of the Pest side – which “is ideal for cycling, since it’s flat and a densely populated area, perhaps even more than Amsterdam- even the 30-40% rate would be achievable. He said they also aim for the city center to be reached safely from the outer districts by bike.

As Magyar Narancs notes, Budapest currently has only a 200-km-long cycling path network, while Vienna -which is smaller in size than the Hungarian capital- has 1300.

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Balogh, having been part of the preparation crew of the Budapest Olympics project in 2016, was also asked about the organization. He said it would be too much for Budapest to organize the Olympics on its own. However, together with Vienna and Pozsony (Bratislava), it would be a very nice dream, he concluded.

featured image: Karácsony arrived on bicycle at the first Assembly meeting; via MTI/ Tamás Kovács