The Municipality of Budapest has decided to establish temporary bicycle lanes for several key routes around the city. The capital’s aim with this decision is to provide its residents with an alternative and safer way to travel during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts at the Budapest Transport Centre and Budapest Public Roads have already finalized the plans, which will be implemented in coming days.
In recent weeks, the Municipality of Budapest, the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) and the Budapest Public Roads (Budapest Közút Zrt.) have continuously monitored the traffic in the city. The drastic decrease in movement fundamentally changed traffic patterns in Budapest. The number of passengers on some of BKK’s buses decreased by almost 90%, while vehicle traffic fell by approximately half. Due to the pandemic emergency, many are temporarily looking for modes of transportation where they can minimize contact with others. Due to this and the drastic reduction of the price of MOL Bubi, the bicycle traffic in Budapest has increased in the recent period.
The decrease in automobile traffic provides an opportunity to improve Budapest’s bicycle transport network with rapid intervention. Cycling is a suitable form of transport even during the pandemic. Mayor Gergely Karácsony, with the involvement of the decision-makers and transport experts of the capital, decided to rapidly improve the conditions for cycling, thus providing a sustainable alternative for road users and catering to a growing trend. The Municipality will help people get to work and improve access to strategically important health care institutions by immediately increasing the number of bicycle paths.
In the first phase, we will create the city center network
The experts of BKK and Budapest Public Roads have already prepared the network development plans: bicycle lanes will be created at the edges of multi-lane roads in each direction. The introduction of these measures has been adjusted to the weather, setting the start date for construction for the beginning of April. The cycling lanes will first be implemented on Bartók Béla street and Tétényi street. The Municipality of Budapest will announce subsequent developments after observing the pace of the implementation and analysing the lessons learned from the opening sections.
As a result of the decreased road traffic, a main bike network can be established in the parts of the city within Hungária Boulevard without any significant restrictions on car traffic. This will also ensure safer conditions on roads where so far few have dared to cycle. The temporary traffic condition is expected to last until September, but professionals will continuously collect and analyse information related to it. If subsequent experiences prove favourable, some of the temporarily established paths may even become permanent after the end of the pandemic.
Stay home, take care of each other!
The Municipality of Budapest would like to ask everyone to stay at home if possible. If you have to go somewhere, try to use a bicycle, either your own or the MOL Bubi rentals, which can be used for 100 HUF per month. It is important that bicycles are used by the population for the most urgent cases: to reach shops, pharmacies, clinics, workplaces. Unfortunately in many cases, drivers tend to bike with higher speed in reduced road traffic, but speed limits must always be adhered to. In the current pandemic emergency, it is particularly important to take care of each other and avoid any traffic accidents. Unnecessary burdens on health care during a pandemic can have serious consequences.