You would be surprised - Cycling in Tirana!
By Silvia Meto
If we want to live a better life we should take more care of ourselves and our environment. Cycling as a transport choice is a good choice: good for ourselves, good for the others and it’s also absolute fun.
Albania’s capital Tirana is gradually becoming a place with a growing cycling culture. Infrastructural improvements and the increased use of bikes over the last years are quite noticeable.
But much work remains to be done. And who better to help here than the Dutch, hailing as they do from their traditional cycling country. So, The Netherlands is doing its bit in turning Tirana into a cyclists' town.
According to Tirana’s recently published strategy of transport drivers of private vehicles need to change their mentality: "They need to start thinking about using alternative transport means, because the city centre will be transformed into a pedestrian zone". A city with a lot of challenges to face on the development path focusing on many primary necessities to be fulfilled, Tirana was lacking a practical and professional study on cycling mobility. By identifying this need the embassy of The Netherlands made possible the concretization of a wide research. For this, Mobycon experts were invited to come to Albania.
Mobycon, an internationally operating consultancy company specialized in the field of sustainable mobility, conducted a conceptual and practical report. In this project, the insights in cycling were delivered through interactive workshops in Tirana and through desk research. The first workshop treated the existing and the desired cycling network, the second drafted street designs through intense group work. The goal of the project was to assist the municipality of Tirana with cycle mobility planning - not merely in the present, but especially in the long run.
In the context of the European Cycling Festival our embassy organized in April a widely attended bike ride through the centre of Tirana. At the same time some new bicycle parking spaces in town were inaugurated, as well as new bike lane that enables cyclists to make their journeys safer and quicker.
The issue of cycling mobility requires the commitment of the entire society, not just of the authorities. People of Tirana and of all Albania should contribute to make their towns, and indeed their whole country, more livable. Everybody would gain from it.
The Netherlands would like to add more cycling kilometers to Europe and share how fun, healthy and environmentally friendly cycling is. By the current evidences Tirana can have a bright future in this path and certainly the Dutch embassy will continue to support its further development.
To get a wider prospective about cycling mobility in Tirana, read the report “ Cycling Tirana”.