Ljubljana regional cycling policies given floor at VeloCity 2022 conference
Under joint organisation by the European Cyclists’ Federation, the City of Ljubljana, Gospodarsko razstavišče d.o.o, and Dekon, the annual flagship world cycling summit, VeloCity 2022, was hosted in Ljubljana. From 14 to 17 June Ljubljana was swirled from cycling enthusiasts, advocates, cities, decision makers, researchers and industry leaders meet to shape the future of cycling.
With the main theme of VeloCity “Cycling the Change”, the initial aim of the event was to observe the potentials of cycling after the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure promotion of cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transport for all. As the conference offered a knowledge-exchange and policy-transfer platform to the growing number of more than 1400 Velo-citizens from over 60 countries. Acting as a regional mobility facilitator, Regional development agency of Ljubljana urban region was offered a stage to present and lead a session on important topic about regional cycling connectivity in Ljubljana urban region (LUR). The event was moderated by Lilijana Madjar, MSc, directress of the RRA LUR. She pointed out that the region and all the municipalities made commitment to sustainable development, sustainable mobility and promotion of cycling in the region over 15 years ago. One fo the key results of cooperation and integration of all municipalities is the first Slovenian regional sustainable urban mobility plan, which was adopted in 2018, with great emphasis on the importance of regional cycling.
With the name “Regional cycling connectivity: Safe & active mobility in Ljubljana and beyond” session brought together local, regional and national decision makers with the aim to draw-up current cycling policies and observe on advantages and challenges of regional cycling development in the region and beyond. Needed integration and its implication of spatial planning and cycling infrastructure in Municipality of Ljubljana, was addressed from Miran Gajšek, MSc, Head of Municipal Department for Urban planning. The main presentations on local level were being advocated from Nejc Smole, Mayor of Municipality of Medvode and Peter Verlič, PhD, Mayor of Grosuplje municipality, stressing main efforts and challenges of municipal levels to encourage daily migration by bicycle, reduce the number of motorised vehicles and promote healthy lifestyle in their communities.
As in other countries also in Slovenia encouragement of cycling policy, infrastructure planning and cycling advocacy are being performed on national level. Speeches from Gregor Steklačič, Ministry of Infrastructure, national cycling coordinator of Slovenia and Goran Žižek, chairman of Slovenian Cyclists’ network and initiator of national EuroVelo Coordination Center in Slovenia draw the attention of national level planning. Both panellists observed cycling policies on a strategic level and discussed needed consensus on the cycling policy priorities that advance cycling infrastructure investments at all levels, pursue the financial sources for cycling investments, address promotion of cycling and elevate awareness raising in all the areas of sustainable mobility.
On overall the session observed the needed regional level approach to addressing planning, investment and service implication of cycling on a regional level. Main conclusions brought the attention about integrated, safe and connected regional cycling infrastructure and services being of crucial importance for resilient regions of tomorrow. Fruitful collaboration among diverse stakeholders on local, regional and national levels were observed as incremental elements of effective cycling policies inauguration. Being in line with long-term regional mobility and spatial planning in LUT, also regional cycling connectivity can only prosper when complemented with adequate development of intramodality, public transport services and comprehensive network of mobility systems.