Future of Mobility in the Tricity


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IMG_2673Solving the problems of traffic jam by extending the roads is like  fighting the obesity with loosening a belt – pointed dr. Piotr  Kuropatwiński from the Department of Economic Policy of the Faculty  of Economics of University of Gdańsk (UG) and Vice President of the  European Cyclists’ Federation at yesterday’s lecture at the Faculty  of Law and Administration of UG. Meeting was organized by the  Metropolitan Institute as a part of Metropolitan Conversatories

 

The seminar began with the lecture by dr. Kuropatwiński on the  future of mobility in the Tricity. The speaker talked about the  challenges of transport and the uniqueness of the Gdansk metropolis.

 

The main challenge Tricity faces is the escape of the citizens from  the city to its periphery. – This leads to the depopulation of the  center. People are looking for quiet enclave, so they build houses  outside the city – he mentioned. In such a case it is difficult for  them to consider any alternative transport than the car. As a remedy  to this problem Kuropatwiński pointed out the Transportation Demand  Management System (TDM), popular in Western Europe, and having its  origins in the municipal policy in Copenhagen. This system is  designed to favor alternative, no-car, transport means through, for  example, converting streets to pedestrian zones or elimination of  parking spaces. – I think the trend of leaving the cities is reversible – said Kuropatwiński.

 

Next, he focused on the benefits of cycling, telling about his  safety, as well as the dangers and problems arising from the Polish  fetish of owning a car. – Poles have more cars than wealthier  citizens of the West – he portrayed. As an disadvantage of the car he  mentioned their negative impact on lifestyle or the fact that they  require more space to park or operate.

 

While discussing the uniqueness of the Gdansk metropolis  Kuropatwiński noted the lack of a clear center (complementarity of  the “districts”). He also recognized SKM (Fast Railway) as a core of  the city. Then he presented the objectives to be subsequently taken  to make transport more efficient in the Tricity. And so, the steps  rulers should follow are: speed reduction, improved traffic  management, relocation of the road space, and only then the  construction of cycling infrastructure. Kuropatwiński criticized the  ineffectiveness of the inappropriate application of the Park & ​​Ride  model in the Warsaw Młociny District. A big parking was built there  where people working in the city center should leave their cars. The  problem is that the cost of such a project is huge. – Warsaw  authorities have funded the inhabitants of the nearby villages a  parking lot using the money of Warsaw’s citizens. I will not even  mention the traffic on the road to this car park – Kuropatwiński  questioned the investment.

 

As an ideal transport solution, that has a chance to success in the Tricity, he pointed out a model called Bike & Rail – that is cycling transport synchronized with the railway infrastructure. – When the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway is finished, Gdańsk might become ’10 Minutes City’. ’10 Minutes City’ is a city where city railway stops are not further than 10 minutes bike ride.

 

After the speech questions of guests appeared. Bolesław Słociński asked for river transport opportunities, which was not mentioned during the lecture. In response, Dr. Kuropatwiński focused primarily on cargo transport using waterways, indicating that it should be conducted outside the city center. Further, answering the question of Przemysław Barszczewski on height differences in the topography of Gdansk, Mr. Kuropatwiński listed a number of practical solutions used in cities with a difference in height (electric bicycles, trams for bicycles, hooks on buses for transporting bicycles). Subsequently, answering the question of Radosław Kleina on the possibility of introducing in the Tricity a free communication, the speaker explained that this is not the gratuitousness of communication, but its reliability and efficiency that are the most important. Agnieszka Ważna, assistant in the Department of Comparative Economics of Transport Systems at the University of Gdańsk, also contributed to the meeting and agreed that the gratuitousness of transport does not mean that transport is efficient. The meeting ended with the question of David Wielec on privatization of transport. Dr. Kuropatwiński however did not think that this is the best solution to improve communication in the cities.

 

The meeting ended with a short speech of Rafał Gajewski from the Metropolitan Institute who thanked for the attendance and attention.

 

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