On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the actions of the iBikeShare project were completed with great success, aiming to increase the use of bicycles in the city of Thessaloniki for the daily movements of the citizens and not only for their leisure.
The actions were organized by the Institute for Sustainable Mobility and Transport Networks of the National Center for Research and Technological Development (CERTH-HIT), project coordinator iBikeShare and project partners, Brainbox A.E. and OTO SA, which operate the system of shared bicycles in Thessaloniki, in the framework of the iBikeShare project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union and from national resources.
At Thessbike station at the Friends of the Sea Club, citizens were informed about the new application of the public bicycle system developed as part of the project, which, among other things, rewards regular users of the system. At the same time, through an interactive (co-creation) game, they expressed their views on how the use of bicycles in the city can be increased. In total, more than 100 citizens installed the application on their mobile phones and participated in the co-creation actions of the project.
At Café Allegro at the Concert Hall, an evening was held where the main actors of the city together with the public talked in a relaxed atmosphere overlooking Thermaikos for the next day of cycling in the city of Thessaloniki and the wider area.
The guests at the evening were welcomed by Dr. Georgia Aifantopoulou, Research Director of CERTH-HIT and coordinator of the project, setting the goals of the evening. Among other things, he said that the momentum of Covid-19 should be used to promote the bicycle and welcomed relevant initiatives, but stressed that the development of good quality infrastructure should be based on the coherent Plan for Sustainable Mobility (SBAK) to avoid fragmented approaches. In addition, he said that the planning should be carried out with the participation of citizens and cyclists and the impact on traffic from the redistribution of public space in favor of bicycles, pedestrians and micro-mobility should be calculated. Finally, according to the model run by CERTH-HIT, it stated that the development of a bicycle path on Karamanli Avenue can be carried out without causing traffic congestion, while the development of a bicycle path on Nikis Avenue will intensify the traffic problems in Mitropoleos which should to manage.
It was greeted by the Deputy Minister of Interior of Macedonia-Thrace, Mr. Theodoros Karaoglou, who stressed the importance of the use of environmentally friendly means of transport by citizens and the use of bicycles as a means of daily transportation given that 40% of travel take place within walking distance of the house (up to 4 km).
The baton was taken via Skype by Prof. Efthymios Bakogiannis, Secretary General of Spatial Planning and Urban Environment of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, who referred to the National Strategy for bicycles which is being formed as an inter-ministerial effort and will be ready in the autumn. In addition, he referred to the institutional framework, which was formed, for the technical instructions for the creation of temporary bicycle paths, sidewalks and light traffic roads and which allows relevant interventions until the end of 2020 only by decisions of the Quality of Life Committee of Municipalities.Mr. Paris Billias, Deputy Regional Head of Infrastructure and Networks of the Region of Central Macedonia, referred to the actions of the Region for the promotion of electrification and low carbon transportation and the development of charging stations for electric vehicles. At the same time, he stressed the funding provided by PKM for the creation of bike lanes and the installation of public bicycle stations in PKM cities.
The Special Advisor of the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Dimitris Mitrou, referred to the planning of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, which wishes to expand the light traffic. He referred to the immediately feasible network of bicycle paths designed by the Municipality and concerns bicycle paths along Kon Avenue. Karamanli in both directions, in the configuration of a two-way bicycle path in the right lane of vehicles on Nikis Avenue and in the configuration of a bicycle path in Them. Sofouli from G. Papandreou Street to Argonauton Street (administrative boundaries of the Municipality of Thessaloniki) in consultation with the Municipality of Kalamaria. Finally, he stated that the creation of a bicycle road on Giannitson Street and its vertical axes is under study.
Entrepreneurs in the public bicycle industry mr. Apostolos Symeonidis CEO of Thessbike and Mr. George Voulgaroudis,