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I initiate> News> The Country 4/20/2009. The Basque capitals are raised to the bicycle

The Country 4/20/2009. The Basque capitals are raised to the bicycle

A strong cycle tradition exists in the Basque Country. Historically it has been faced towards the sports thing and, especially, outside of the cities, but the information shows that more and more Basque they decide to use the bicycle as an urban transport way. In Vitoria and San Sebastian this use has doubled in only four years and the target of 5 % on the volume of the entire traffic, who proposes the newly constituted Spanish Network of Cities for the Bicycle, seems within reach of the hand. The three capitals have passed or they are employed at plans of mobility that have in common to overcome the conception of the bicycle as an element of free time and to place it like one more vehicle.

Vitoria and Donostia have implied the cycle groups with his consistories

In Vitoria, 3,27 % of persons was using the bicycle every day, in 2006 (there were a 1,37 % in 2001), and in San Sebastian it was 2,6 % last year and a 1,7 % does five. It is municipal information in both cases. "It is necessary to come to 5 % before it finishes the term", the mayor is challenged donostiarra Odón Elorza, who usually presumes to use this transport way.

In Bilbao, the Ecobarómetro of the Basque Government was taking into account only 0,3 % of daily displacements in bike in 2004, but the councilman of Town planning of the capital vizcaína, Julia Madrazo, it perceives "a crescent demands". And that, despite the "worse situation of game", due to the orography and the traffic that supports the city. For Madrazo, symptom of this demand is the success of the free loan of bikes that offers the Town hall. Approximately 18.000 persons used it last year.

The ordinance on bidegorris of Bilbao, approved in December, 2007, tries to give answer to the incipient group of from Bilbao urban cyclists. It raises to enable up to 78 kilometers of cycle routes in eight years. The 11 first ones will be constructed from this one, with a budget for 1,6 million euros with charge to the funds of the Plan Shoemaker. Bilbao is, to today, the back marker of the Basque capitals for kilometers of rail bike. Only 17, against the 32 of San Sebastian and the 78 of Vitoria.

"In Vitoria we have many kilometers but only they serve to walk because they were done without planning. They are unconnected, have not entered the center, have no signs...", there complains Xabier Arriola, president of Gasteizko Bizikleteroak. Nevertheless, the representative of the principal cycle group of Vitoria is "optimistic". The Town hall was provided with them to start the Observatory of the Bicycle, which makes come to the consistory the complaints and proposals of the cyclists.

The governing plan of cycle mobility of the capital of Alava, "in making", as tells the councilman of Environment Alba Cañadas, proposes to double the network of cycle routes up to 160 kilometers. In 2009 there is foreseen the construction of the first 11 kilometers. "We will go on from a network that is good for the free time to one that it will take to the bicycle as a transport element", he makes sure. "In Vitoria the way more rapid of moving is in bike; it is studied", adds the town councilor, who believes that if "one takes the fear from him" to the citizenship, offering them sure roads, "we will come very rapidly to 5 % of use".

In San Sebastian, the Town hall collaborates also with the principal cycle group of the city, Kalapie, in an Observatory of the Bicycle. This does not prevent the last ones from criticizing that with the current budget "it is not possible to complete the cycle network of the city" and, especially, that still has not approved the update of the municipal plan of cycle mobility, the most veteran of Basque Country, since it dates of 2001.

Elorza defends himself: the new plan begins being prepared the next month and, on the budget, although he admits that the expense has had to come down "from a million to 500.000 euros". He adds that they are constructed bidegorris without charge to these games, "imputing the expense to the new urban development performances". Between the challenges that it mentions the mayor is to come to the high quarters and to tune in to the nearby municipalities. And between the achievements, the rail bike of Morlans, a 840 meters tunnel only for cyclists, "one of the first infrastructures of this type in Europe", that will open before the summer and will connect the quarters of Amara and Ibaeta. It has cost two millions financed by half by Town hall and Basque Government. The consistory donostiarra foresees to double the kilometers of the current cycle network between this term and the next one, tuning in to municipalities as Astigarraga and Pasaia.

Not only 'bidegorris'
The groups who promote the use of the bicycle insist on two ideas. One: on having constructed bidegorris what it counts, it is not the quantity, but the quality. Two: the rails bike are not always the solution.

The later phases of the cycle plan that begins to execute now Bilbao will include the construction not only rails bike in strict sense, but also stretches shared with the vehicles motorized in areas of limited speed or "kind streets", as the councilman Julia Madrazo details. The plans of Vitoria and San Sebastian also foresee that the bikes come to the center following the same formula, sharing the scarce space with the cars. The big thickness of the center of the Basque cities imposes this alternative, as several consulted persons in charge coincide. Although Odón Elorza claims the "bravery" of his corporation, on having eliminated parking squares in line and rails of traffic to be able to place bidegorris.

Urban cycle routes
- At present.

Bilbao: 17 km

Vitoria: 78 km

San Sebastian: 32 km

- Foreseen for 2015. (It includes bidegorris and another type of routes).

Bilbao: 78 km.

Vitoria: 162 km.

San Sebastian: 76 km.

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