The capital city continues the strategy of Vilnius, the walking city

Today, Vilnius City Council renewed the long-term Vilnius City Sustainable Mobility Plan (VMDJP) (until 2030) approved in 2018 and designed to change the  travelling habits of Vilnius residents and facilitating introduction of innovative traffic management solutions, such as quiet traffic streets.

New quality streets for Vilnius and its residents

Vilnius has adopted a standard for urban streets, which is used as a basis for managing the city’s streets. The VMDJP and the new street standard redefined the concept of the street,  returning to the view that a street is a principal urban public place not only for traffic, but also for swirling life.  A street is defined as everything between the facades of buildings: pedestrian and bicycle paths or lanes, planting strips and carriageways.

“Vilnius is changing, we are moving to a new version of the city, in a sense, Vilnius 2.0. The sustainable mobility plan and the principles of new streets emerged not by a decision of officials, but rather by the city itself, which over the last 10 years has been evolving in a modern direction that puts it alongside the most attractive cities in Europe”, says Jonas Damidavičius, Head of Mobility Transformation at JUDU.

The Council also adopted some amendments to the VMDJP designed to make its implementation even more efficient. In line with the Sustainable Mobility Plan, we will strive to manage streets according to the 12 new street principles that will enhance the mobility comfort for all traffic participants. One of the most prominent examples of such streets are the calm traffic streets in Naujamiestis (Gerosios vilties St., T. Ševčenkos St., Algirdo Sr., etc.), where cars, bicycles, scooters, and pedestrians can circulate safely side by side and comfortably.

Photographs by Saulius Žiūra

Expansion of the bicycle network

Having in the past seven years skipped several steps on the development ladder Vilnius has made great strides in the development of cycling infrastructure. Currently, the capital city has a network of around 140 km of high-quality cycle paths connecting different parts of the city and covering 58% of the urbanised area within a radius of 250 metres; and by the end of 2025, this figure is expected to increase to 90%, with around 190 km of paths making cycling or moving by any other type of motor-less vehicle even more convenient. Further the city is planning to develop a high quality network of cycle paths where additional sections will connect suburban and residential areas.

“There are opinions in the society that our climate is not suitable for long-term cycling and scootering, but this is not true. Even Lithuania’s climate allows cycling all year round, provided the infrastructure is properly maintained and taken care of”, – says J. Damidavičius.

As part of the new infrastructure project some storage facilities for bicycles (or other motor-less vehicles) in neighbourhoods will be established for the convenience of the residents. The first 18 bicycle storage facilities will be installed between 2022 and 2023 in Lazdynai, Fabijoniškės, Viršuliškių and Žirmūnai districts, where residents were the first to express the need for bicycle storage places. In addition, the plan provides for at least 700 conventional bicycle racks to be installed every year at attraction sites, close to educational establishments and on cycle paths.

Photographs by Saulius Žiūra

For car travellers

To tackle congestion in the city, a new traffic light traffic management system will improve traffic throughput at junctions, to allow the introduction of convenient green lanes for car transport, provide a priority traffic light system for public transport at the busiest sections of  public transport.

The implementation of the VMDJP will also address the car parking lot issue.

“Vilnius definitely has space for cars and car drivers will not be left behind. Quite on the contrary, making use of existing street space and redesigning it or changing traffic management solutions create infrastructure for other traffic operators; yet car drivers are not forgotten either, and we keep arranging parking lots whenever necessary. Currently, cars are parked in green spaces, playgrounds, and sports fields in the backyards of residential buildings, so in order to change this situation, in the coming years we are planning to install at a high-quality living environment with all the necessary active leisure infrastructure in the backyard”, commented J. Damidavičius.

Vilnius residents are encouraged to expand the more extensively use the vehicle-sharing service. In June 2022, in cooperation with four vehicle-sharing service providers and other municipal companies concerned Vilnius City Municipality set up a Mobility Cluster, the first ever in Europe. In line with the VMDJP, the aim is to increase the number of car-sharing trips to 3% by 2024. Every year, residents of Vilnius perform some 1.5 million trips by car-sharing option.

Public education

Introducing sustainable travel modes and educating people about their benefits is essential to changing public behaviour. Although new, it is an important part of the VMDJP, which aims to involve the general public in the implementation of sustainable mobility ideas. Some schools already are offering courses on combined travel means and in what way they can benefit consumers. The other initiatives being implemented include the development of the ‘Trip to school” plan, creation of the sustainable mobility map in cooperation with schools (project “Education and mobility”), close cooperation with the business sector in building travel habits of the employees, and business entities are called to contribute to building the sustainable city.

The objective to be achieved in Vilnius as set out in the Sustainable Mobility Plan, is the city in which by 2030 one third of journeys are made by walking, public transport and cars, with around 7.5% by bicycle, and the remaining few percent will be travelling by other mobility modes. The updated VMDJP Action plan introduced to the Council of the City of Vilnius is available online.

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