Extension of infrastructure for cycling and walking
Donostia - San Sebastián/Spain CIVITAS ARCHIMEDES | 2008-2012
Donostia-San Sebastian would like to see more people travel around the city by bike and at the same time aims to maintain the high modal share of walking. To make both mobility options more attractive, the city is increasing the road space dedicated to them.
Implementing sustainable mobility
The initial goal of this measure was and to extend the pedestrian zone by 2 km and introduce 15 km of new cycling lanes. In addition, the city planned to introduce new bike parking facilities and services.
The objectives of the measure are to:
Increase priority and road space for walking and cycling;
Increase the number of cyclists;
Maintain the high modal share of walking;
Reduce the amount of private car traffic; and
Reduce congestion and pollution.
At the start of the project in 2008, pedestrian zones in the city already covered 98 km² and the network of cycling lanes added up to 28 kilometers. The goals of the new infrastructures are to complete missing connections in the cycling network; to create new walking routes; and to extend the pedestrian zones in the city centre. In addition the city is looking for ways to improve the bicycle-parking situation for citizens who do not have space in their apartment buildings.
How did the measure progress?
Since the start of the project, the cycling network has been growing gradually and has surpassed the original objective. Up to the end of 2011, 22 kilometers of new cycling lanes have been realized. This includes both exclusive lanes and stretches with coexistence. Two former train tunnels have been converted into cycling tracks creating important shortcuts where cyclists previously had to take a much longer route to avoid steep hills.
Moreover, new pedestrian routes, of in total 3.6 km, were introduced along the Urumea River and in other green areas. In January 2011, a new stretch of pedestrian area in the Arrasate Street was added to the already extensive pedestrian zone in the city centre.
The new infrastructures are promoted with updated maps of the cycling network and walking routes in the city centre. The map with walking routes contains information about the duration of different walking trips in the city.
In addition, 60 new bicycle parking facilities (providing parking space for 600 bicycles) have been installed.
In August 2012, induction loops have been installed at 7 strategic points of the cycle lane network. These cyclist counters are connected to the traffic management software and will provide 24/7 data on the number of cyclist.
What were the outcomes of the measure?
This measure is part of a package of measures aiming to increase the use of non-motorised modes as well as reducing the number of private cars entering the city and circulating within its neighbourhoods. The extension of the pedestrian and cycling network has prompted a steady increase in the use of the bicycle, meaning a 33 percent increase during the CIVITAS project (2008-2011). In 2011 the increase in cycling levels was 26 percent compared with the previous year.
In terms of modal shift in favour of sustainable modes of transport, results are moderate in the short term, achieving an overall reduction in car use of 0.1 percent as compared with the situation before the CIVITAS project started. It should be highlighted that this achievement is made in a context of a steady increase in car travel, thus it can be considered a positive result. On the other hand, walking levels seems to be following a slightly decreasing trend, which is not a desirable result (0.3 percent reduction in modal share as compared to the situation before the project started). Attention should be placed to this issue in the coming years.
The first calculations on the benefit to cost ratio indicate that benefits are nearly six times larger than costs. This result reveals that the implementation of non-motorized infrastructure is a very cost-effective measure.
Fermín Echarte Peña