17 juin 2014

Vitoria Gasteiz, one of the most booming cycling's cities.

I was in Vitoria Gasteiz in the Spanish Basque country in the late of May. It was the second meeting of the European biking project. Vitoria (in spanish language) or Gasteiz (in Basque language) got a population of 242 147 people in a city of 276 km² which gives a very dense city with 860 inhabitants per km².

With 7 % of the daily trips by bike in 2011 (1 % in 2002), Vitoria Gasteiz is the spanish city where bicycle is the most used. And with 55 % of walkers and 8 % of public transport customers, the Alava capital is one of the cities where cars are the less used (29 % of the daily trips). This is one of the reasons why Vitoria Gasteiz held the title of European Green Capital in 2012.

The car free area of the old part of the city started in 1976, and in 1993 reached up to 40 000 square meters and up to more than 20 streets. Some of the pedestrianized streets registered up to 25 000 vehicles. Nowadays the pedestrian zone reach up to 500 000 square meters.

The city started it’s cycling policy in the beginning of the 2000's. It built the first cycle tracks by taking space from cars, by calming traffic in residential areas with new traffic plan with one way car streets with two way for bicycle users as you can see in this before/after pictures

Photos: Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council
The improvement of the bike use in the city was also helped by the new tram lines inaugurated in 2008 which has completely redesign the streets from side to side in order to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.

Vitoria Gasteiz is the good exemple of a city which is quickly becoming "bike friendly". The city gave more space to cyclists and calmed motorised trafic in the city and communicated about it by working closer with the inhabitants. I was very impressed of the results of this 10 years policy which got very good results without a big and expensive public bike sharing system !. It just need to be supported by politicians a little bit of money and to be timeless. Congratulations to Vitoria-Gasteiz !

4 commentaires:

  1. Si je calcule bien, "242 147 people in a city of 276 km²", ca fait 877 habitant par km² (pas m²), ce qui est nettement moins que Strasbourg avec ses 3 478 hab./km² ;-)

    1. Merci pour cette remarque forte intéressante. En fait sur les 276 km² de la superficie de Vitoria, la ville ne représente qu'une petite partie comme l'expose la carte suivantes http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitoria-Gasteiz#mediaviewer/Fichier:Gasteizko_kontzejuak.png,

      La densité de la partie urbaine de Vitoria est donc très importante. Un petit tour sur google earth et vous pourrez voir que le bâtit est partout rarement en dessous de 8 ou 10 étages.

  2. I live in Vitoria and using the cycle lanes is a nightmare. The police do nothing to prevent motorists from parking in the lanes and it's impossible for me to make use of the lanes most days due to the fact people are parked in them and going around the cars would mean cycling on the road, which wouldn't be so bad, but for that fact that the traffic is oncoming. Generally speaking, I feel that much of Vitoria-Gasteiz' push to become green was a vanity trip born out of an envy for the type of reputations held by neighbouring cities like Bilbao, San Sebastian or Pamplona. In reality, as a day-to-day user of the lanes, the whole system and project is poorly managed.......and I'd hesitate to say that even more so nowadays, due to the fact that the city no longer holds the title of Green Capital.

    I've talked with police about this, one of whom was parked in a bike lane and was told anything from "I don't care" to "it's about societal conciousness....people have to learn to respect eachother's spaces by themselves".

    1. Another thing. Cycling has actually been prohibited throughout most of the centre and the 500,000 m2 of pedestrianized areas you mentioned.