MINSK, 14 May (BelTA) - Green mobility makes small towns more comfortable and greener, expands opportunities for new digital technologies, and stimulates new partnerships and interregional interaction, BelTA learned the UNDP office in Belarus as it summed up the results of the Green Cities project.
Aleksandr Goroshko, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus and National Coordinator of the Green Cities project, also highlighted a special demand in small towns for comfortable and safe streets. "Implementing a parking policy, the organization of pedestrian streets and zones, slowing down the speed of traffic are the most effective measures to reduce traffic load in small towns, to lower harmful emissions, including CO2," he said.
Under the Green Cities project, implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Belarusian Ministry of Natural Recourses and Environmental Protection and with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), new road infrastructure, including for cyclists, has been developed in Polotsk and Novopolotsk, and innovative public transport and traffic control technologies have been introduced in the towns.
A preliminary analysis of the effectiveness of these innovations gives grounds to speak about the successful application of green mobility approaches in small towns.
The bicycle infrastructure developed in the two towns, including bicycle lanes, bicycle racks, bicycle parking lots, and bicycle intersections, gives local residents a number of environmental, social, and economic benefits. The measure helps reduce CO2 emissions and concentrations of harmful substances into the air. It also promotes healthy lifestyles among the population, and creates preconditions for the development of local entrepreneurship by expanding bicycle services and opening new commercial outlets in the pedestrian and bicycle zones.
Improvement of public transportation networks, the use of smart traffic lights, innovative road markings will help make traveling through the city more convenient and safe. Reliability of public transport motivates urban residents to choose it over personal vehicles.
“The results of developing green mobility in small cities demonstrate the importance of cooperation between city administrations, businesses, and residents at the level of the city and at the interregional level,” UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Alexandra Solovieva noted. “A comprehensive and inclusive approach to the development of green mobility helps strengthen the potential of local sustainable development, improve health of urban residents, and spur the social and economic development of regions,” she added.
The partnership between all stakeholders is one of the most important conditions for achieving lasting results and for finding sources of financing of new projects in the field of sustainable urban development. The Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry, city administrations, and active citizens continue working together to promote green mobility practices in other small cities of Belarus.