Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New cycling master plan for Budapest

This month marked the release of a new cycling plan for Budapest. An English-language, thumbnail sketch of it can be found at http://www.eltis.org/show_news.phtml?newsid=1245&mainID=461.
The complete document (in Hungarian only) can be downloaded here http://kerekparosklub.hu/vitaanyag.

I haven't had time to give it a close look, but can say that it's an attractive, professional-looking document. And from my conversations with the people who put it together (staff at the Hungarian Cycling Club and experts from the Budapest Technical University and the COWI consulting company), it will no doubt represent a positive turn towards state-of-the-art planning, with several references to good international examples.

For example, the plan encourages a move away from segregated facilities toward lanes that integrate cyclists with motor traffic. On two-way streets, it encourages bike lanes on both sides of the street for both directions of traffic (with the exception of Andrassy, facilities in Budapest are generally single-track, shared-use, segregated facilities). And it stresses the importance of integrating cycling planning with general urban planning rather than introducing it as a retrofit or afterthought.

So, it'll be several days before I can read through the whole document, but it's already clear the underlying philosophy is a good one -- more enlightened than what we've seen before and one that treats cycling not just as a form of recreation but as a means of everyday transport.

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