The Romanian capital, Bucharest, plans to open up to pedestrians during weekends. From 29 May, the centre of Bucharest will have seven large pedestrian zones at weekends, which will be largely connected by pedestrian streets. Car access will be restricted in these areas every Saturday and Sunday, between 11.00 and 23.00 from 29 May until 17 October 2021.
The initiative, called ‘Open Streets’, was announced by Bucharest’s mayor Nicușor Dan. “This project is an invitation for Bucharest residents to go outdoors, a solution to promote cleaner air and health in Bucharest”. The mayor added that with this initiative Bucharest follows the example of other cities in Europe and it could be extended next year. The mayor continued: “the initiative is a test for a wider programme that we want to organise next year, through which we will bring such pedestrian areas to neighbourhoods as well. We want to give the local communities in these neighbourhoods the opportunity to organise events in the public space, although for the moment we are not organising events. We are still in a pandemic context. Depending on how the situation evolves, we will re-evaluate.”
The ‘Open Streets’ initiative was initiated by ARCEN, a local NGO promoting actions to improve the quality of life in the city. ‘Open Streets’ aims to enhance public space, increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, engage with residents and to encourage recreational activities in public space, ARCEN said. The initiative is also a chance for traders affected by the pandemic, and an opportunity to support the growth of the local economy and to increase the attractiveness of the city to tourists.
The “Open Streets” project includes seven pedestrian areas, 34 streets and 11.7 km of temporarily pedestrianised streets throughout the centre of Bucharest (map). The areas remain accessible for car traffic for residents (with a reduced travel speed of 10km / h on pedestrian segments), as well as for vehicles belonging to the emergency services.
Original article published by The Mayor on 25 May 2021
Photo Credit: © Loredana Bitculescu- no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.