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Bicycle path map presented to the public on the way to a cycling Lithuania: 5,000 km of bike paths to stretch through the country’s cities, suburbs and recreation areas

Date

2022 09 21

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Expansion of the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure from 3,000 to 5,000 kilometres of paths and more convenient and safer trips for the people using them, motivation to swap private cars for healthy, eco-friendly bicycles, and over EUR 300 million in investments to achieve these goals. This is Lithuania’s vision of cycling until 2035 that is being developed in the national bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure development map, which was presented to the public today by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

This map was developed by the ministry together with the Lithuanian Road Administration (LRA), in cooperation with municipalities and communities uniting cyclists. 

“The national bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure map that we have put together is just the tip of the iceberg, topping a complex process that was implemented for the first time in 30 years. Previously, the development of a bicycle infrastructure on a national scale was carried out quite episodically; the existing infrastructure was not inventoried and the criteria for its prioritisation were not defined. While creating the map, we evaluated the available infrastructure and agreed on an algorithm for determining infrastructure priorities, according to which, together with the Lithuanian Road Administration and the municipalities, the general need for development and the most important links were established,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis during the presentation.

According to the minister, the map will be useful for any resident who wants to see the paths in their municipality and its development plans or make comments and suggestions. It will be clearer to the public, municipalities, businesses and developers which paths and routes are being developed and why, and what the development priorities are. Using these data, businesses will be able to create innovative solutions to promote cycling.

At present, there are 2,000 kilometres of bike paths along roads of national significance, and another 1,000 along roads of local significance. There are plans to add another 1,000 kilometres in both of these categories by 2035. Over EUR 300 million in investments from the European Union and the Road Maintenance and Development Programme have been earmarked for this. Paths located in and extending through cities and suburbs are considered a priority.

The priorities are arranged so that each municipality has at least one new pedestrian and bicycle path. This is what the idea of developing infrastructure on roads of national significance is focused on. The total length of the highest priority paths designated by the municipalities is 304 kilometres. The first 150-200 kilometres in Lithuania should already be completed in 2023-2024. 

The map presented to the public features several important functionalities. For example, the LRA included the state of the existing infrastructure on it, as well as the order of planned works. The tool also collects additional information, like providing preliminary implementation deadlines.

The presentation of the national bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure development map is one of the events for European Mobility Week being organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. According to Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Agnė Vaiciukevičiūtė, presenting the ambitious infrastructure development plans this week was not only a symbolic, but also a promising decision.

“Cycling culture is highly developed on the Old Continent; we can look to the Netherlands as an example, where cyclists, regardless of their social and economic status, ride all year round. City streets there are ideally adapted for these vehicles, and they have multi-storey bike parks for safe, sheltered storage. We can’t create a cycling culture in Lithuania in a day or two, but in order to create it in general, we must first create the necessary conditions, and develop the kind of infrastructure we are discussing today,” says Ms Vaiciukevičiūtė.

According to LRA Director Remigijus Lipkevičius, the Lithuanian Road Administration is now devoting more attention than before to the development of infrastructure for pedestrian and bicycle paths alongside roads of national significance. 

“A whole bunch of projects are being prepared this year so that they can be implemented in the coming years. Some 60 kilometres of pedestrian and bicycle paths are planned to be built in 2023, and as many as 100 in 2024. We hope that by increasing funding, the number of kilometres installed for the development of this infrastructure will grow every year,” says Mr Lipkevičius.

You can find the national bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure map that has been prepared at: https://gis.ktvis.lt/webappbuilder/apps/65/

The presentation slides are here (in Lithuanian).