City of Brno Urged To Invest In Cycling Infrastructure As Number of Cyclists Triples In 20 Years
The number of cyclists on the streets of Brno has tripled in the last 20 years. Photo credit: Freepik.
Brno, March 14 (BD) – New data published by the website brnonakole.cz, based on information from the city-owned road management company Brno Communications, shows that the number of cyclists on the streets of Brno has tripled in the last 20 years. The increase is particularly pronounced on weekdays, as more citizens use bicycles for regular journeys to school or work. However, critics say the city’s cycling infrastructure, especially cycle paths, has not expanded to meet requirements.
Over the past 30 years, 66% of municipal investment in cycle transport has been allocated to riverside cycle paths. However, these serve only a limited purpose for daily transport to work, and there is not much further room for growth in recreational use due to overcrowding.
During that period, only a few cycle lanes have been marked on regular roads, such as on Nové Sady, Kounicova, and Lidická, and an even fewer number of two-way lanes such as on Gorkého.
The last integrated cycle path separated safely from cars and leading to the centre of Brno was established in 1994 on Chodská-Botanická. Since then, the city has seen only a few short unconnected fragments, such as by Vlněna, on Hrnčířská, and in the park at Koliště.
Nonetheless, bicycle transport in the city centre has seen steady growth despite the low investment. Long-term trends indicate that more and more people want to get around Brno by bicycle, scooter and other modern self-propelled vehicles. However, there is no continuous network of cycle paths in Brno separated from cars and pedestrians.
“The city is preparing projects for cycle paths, but slowly and unsystematically,” said Marek Lahoda (Pirati), the chair of the city’s Road Safety Commission and an expert on urban mobility. “There is money – the state and the EU offer one subsidy program after another – but the city management does not use these resources because it does not have projects ready. There is a lack of human capacity.”
In the past four years, the City of Brno has increased the number of staff working to improve bicycle transport infrastructure. However, according to Lahoda it is still insufficient.
“If [the municipality] really wants to build at least a few kilometres of cycle paths in the foreseeable future, it needs to be approached in the same way as the construction of the highway network,” he said. “Create a team of people and prepare a strategy for the development of bicycle transport in Brno, in which the city must lay out backbone routes and a schedule for their construction. Sustainable transport must be a clear priority for Brno.”