Some 64 bicycle road projects are in the pipeline across Turkey as part of the government’s push for “cleaner cities,” the environment minister has announced, amid growing criticism of the environmental impact of the government’s urbanization policies.
Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Erdoğan Bayraktar said the government was working on a “Bicycle Roads in 81 Provinces Project,” adding that around 64 bicycle road projects prepared by the local municipalities had already been approved by the authorities and were awaiting budget approval. The government’s desire to expand bicycle road regulations across the country comes after chronic traffic problems hit Istanbul over the last few weeks.
In recent years, both central and local authorities in Turkey have stepped up attempts to make changes to the country’s transport priorities, which have generally emphasized private car usage since the 1950s. Public transport has been expanded nad bicycle usage aimed to be promoted with the aim of moving toward less congested traffic and healthier cities.
“Environmentalism stands out in the whole world due to global warming, the lessening of endemic life, as well as rising sea and shore pollution,” Bayraktar told Anadolu Agency yesterday, adding that these concerns would play a major part in Turkey’s wide-scale urban transformation process. With this stated intention, the government has been refashioning many areas, particularly in the center of metropolises.
In order to achieve these goals, the municipalities that present eco-friendly projects are now awarded with funds and incentives, he said, recalling that this year the environment ministry had distributed 159 garbage collector vehicles, worth more than 26.5 million liras. Bayraktar also vowed to send another 189 cleaning vehicles with different purposes to local governments as part of incentives.