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An 8 km bike path is to run along both sides of the River Mtkvari (Sanapiro) in Tbilisi, Tbilisi City Hall spokesperson Mirian Lebanidze has told OC Media.
According to Lebanidze, there are practically no means currently for bicycles to move around in the city. For this reason, the city will work step-by-step to develop adequate infrastructure.
The first bike path will be circular, connecting Deda Ena Park with Vakhushti Bagrationi Bridge.
Lebanidze said that several departments in the City Hall are working on this issue, with the involvement of the nongovernmental sector.
‘We want to select routes which will be easily accessible and secure. They should also connect strategic places such as universities or shopping facilities’, Lebanidze said.
The bike path will incorporate some pavements. There will also be 25 parking spaces for bicycles, mainly in areas with CCTV surveillance.
Architect and urban planner Irakli Zhvania told OC Media that in Europe, such initiatives took place a long time ago, and Tbilisi should step up its work in this direction.
According to him, the current policy of city authorities caters more to cars than to pedestrians or cyclists.
‘The main priority should be given to pedestrians or cyclists instead of cars, which are the main source of traffic jams. People need to see that priority is being given to pedestrians’, Zhvania said.
In an interview with Radio Fortuna, cyclist Luka Kirkitadze said that he supported the idea of developing bike paths, although he was sceptical that such paths would remain accessible.
‘If bike paths will be located on pavements, the City Hall should first remove cars from pavements, so both pedestrians and cyclists have space to move. Currently, there are cars parked on pavements. It is impossible to cycle in such conditions’, Kirkitadze said.
Completion of the bike path is planned for spring this year. According to the City Hall, this is a pilot project and more paths are being planned due to a high demand.