In recent years, the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, has been fostering walking and cycling, including renewing pavements and promoting safe cycling amongst its school pupils. On 15 November 2022, Sofia’s local authorities announced the 'Green Ring’ project, which will establish a 30-kilometre-long park and cycling path, around the city centre that passes through the city’s more peripheral residential areas.
The project plans to capitalise on part of an abandoned urban and industrial rail infrastructure that was previously used for connecting factories and heating plants in the city, as well as on existing public parks. Around 30 years ago, local authorities began a deindustrialisation process in the city, transforming part of the former railway network into residential buildings and wide boulevards. Sofia’s city authorities are now planning to develop the urban mobility network of these areas, providing them with modern and sustainable cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
The planned cycling infrastructure of the 'Green Ring' is part of the city's strategic cycling policy, as announced by Sofiaplan, the municipal enterprise responsible for the spatial and strategic development and planning of Sofia Municipality. The project will start from the abandoned railway station named “Pioneer” (Пионер), in the city’s biggest park of Borisova Gradina.
The implementation of the 'Green Ring' project will require regional authorities to procure the necessary land and conduct a participatory process, consulting with residents to better understand their needs and what urban developments will be beneficial for their areas. The main purpose of the 'Green Ring' project is to improve the attractiveness of neglected neighbourhoods and to increase investment and growth.
Local authorities expect this to be a long process, considering that the areas through which the Ring will pass are at different stages of development. By the end of the project, new green areas and transport modes will be available and accessible to around 250,000 people, reaching at least 30 neighbourhoods and districts, that will renovate mobility in the city.
Original article published by themayor.eu on 15 November 2022.
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