New cycling strategy aims to reduce commuting by car

The Budapest Development Center (BFK) is preparing a regional cycling strategy for Hungary’s central region based on the Budapest Agglomeration Railway Strategy.

The main task of the strategy will be to show what investments, new bicycle paths, road construction and traffic changes are needed to make all railway and HÉV stations in the agglomeration safely accessible by bicycle and to have bicycle storage facilities at those locations, BFK said.

The strategy should be done by the end of 2022, in continuous cooperation with local governments, non-governmental organizations and all stakeholders.

Applications for the development of a comprehensive cycling network development strategy for the Budapest agglomeration can be submitted by the end of April. The winner will have a complex task, during which they will have to consult not only with BFK but also with the Hungarian Cycling Club, local non-governmental organizations, local governments and users.

Transportation inside the Budapest agglomeration is based on driving. Only 3 out of 10 people use public transport, and the goal is to double this ratio to reduce the harmful effects of traffic, air pollution, poor health due to bad air quality and time wasted in traffic jams. The goal is for all people living in the agglomeration to be able to safely approach the nearest station by bike and leave their bikes at the station. P + R car parks are needed, but cyclists often have to use the main road to approach the station. There is a lack of a safe-crossing option, Balázs Fürjes, Secretary of State for the Development of Budapest and the Metropolitan Agglomeration, said in his statement.

The Budapest Agglomeration Railway Strategy defined the steps of the development of the suburban railway network (including the HÉV), the necessary increase of the capacity of each line, and the new elements essential for connecting them in the city. Together, these will make it possible for more than twice as many trains to enter Budapest as there are today. 

Improving access to suburban train stations is also needed to double the number of passengers on the agglomeration track network. We would now like to review this with a strategic approach in the entire city region and shape it into concrete projects and tasks. The cycling strategy aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the current situation of cycling infrastructure in the agglomeration and where and how it needs to be developed to achieve a unified, functioning system for safe cycling, stated Dávid Vitézy, spokesperson of the Urban and Suburban Transport Association (VEKE).

Áron Halász, a spokesman for the Hungarian Cycling Club, said that they saw a huge opportunity in the combination of public transport and cycling as an alternative to commuting by car.

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