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Ramnicu Valcea promotes sustainable means of transport to its future generations


Ramnicu Valcea promotes sustainable means of transport  to its future generations
01/2016

As a contribution to our next e-update, the Romanian city of Ramnicu Valcea talks about the challenges for a small city - they have 98.776 inhabitants - to avoid traffic jams and change citizens' transport choices.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The Municipality of Ramnicu Valcea, Valcea County, Romania has been permanently open to cooperation at international level. In 1999, the European Commission renowned Ramnicu Valcea as the only town in Romania on the road towards the integration into the EU. In July 2003, the General Directorate for Environment of the European Union has given to the City Hall of Ramnicu Valcea the "2003 European Sustainable City” Diploma in recognition of the remarkable progress achieved in the field of sustainable development. Some other credits have been granted to the municipality in various other international competitions such as those related to urban management, sustainable development, examples of good practice etc. In this context, there have been various financing projects implemented in Ramnicu Valcea with the European Union participation, the most important of which being the projects of rehabilitation and waste management and water supply, sewerage and wastewater treatment plant.

Ramnicu Valcea is also a Covenant of Mayors’ signatory since 2008. In 2014, Ramnicu Valcea became part of the Romanian Traffic Snake Game, the mobility project co-financed by the European Union’s Intelligent Energy Europe program. In 2015, Ramnicu Valcea became a member of the European mobility networks, ENDURANCE and CIVITAS.

CHANGING BEHAVIOUR BY OFFERING BETTER OPTIONS

Currently, the Municipality of Ramnicu Valcea is facing a major challenge: the reduction of traffic jams and pollution in town. For the last decade, citizens have been preferring to fulfil their transport needs with their private cars instead of other means of transport. This trend suffocated the city’s motor traffic and forced the local authority to offer new and sustainable transport options for their citizens by improving public transport, buying new and performant buses, increasing the number of public bus stations, building bicycle lanes and developing the city’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan.

Also, during the 2010-2015 period, the Municipality of Ramnicu Valcea rehabilitated and modernized buildings, investing 12,444,045 euro and saving 2,225 MWh of energy per hour and 1,322 tons of CO2 emissions in 2012. They built about 18 km of cycle tracks; a cost of 444,730 euros leading to a reduction of 2 tons of CO2 emissions). The municipality arranged adjacent streets for the main arteries and replaced lamps/public street lighting with equipment with a low power consumption (total cost of 790.159 euros). In 2013 the Municipality bought eight new buses.

TARGETING THE FUTURE GENERATIONS

Presently, since the Municipality of Ramnicu Valcea is implementing a number of projects with European funding, the city is turned into a real construction site. Because of the restoration works of the central area, the centre is closed to motor traffic and other arteries are partly restricted. In order to prevent the blocking of Ramnicu Valcea’s main access routes from and to town, the Municipality had to choose a new approach to reduce the traffic jam. In 2015 they have organised The European Mobility Week for the first time. They focused on children as the main target audience, specifically those from primary schools, aged 7 to 10 years old.

By addressing the children, the Municipality wanted to promote walking, cycling and public transport to the future generations as the sustainable mobility options in the present and future town. The city also believes that children are the best teachers for the adults and for their peers, educating entire families to use sustainable means of transport to the detriment of the private cars.

Taking advantage of the fact that Ramnicu Valcea was organising the second edition of the Traffic Snake Game and the partnership with the Valcea’s Inspectorate for Schools, they organised the European Mobility Week of activities in schools, with the teachers and students involved in the Traffic Snake Game project. Thus, from September 16 until September 21, when the second edition of the project officially started, the teachers had to organize interactive lessons about the use of sustainable means of transport and the effects of excessive cars use on the environment. they talked to students about their option to use bus or bike when traveling long distances to the city and to walk when moving shorter distances. They showed to the children how to walk safely in town (how to cross the road, what mean the different colors of the traffic lights), how to go on bike and how to take the bus. The city organised a Car Free Day with the children’s help.

In 2014, the 250 students from Ramnicu Valcea who participated in the Traffic Snake Game campaign have achieved savings of more than 3,100 km comparing to traveling by private car and reduced by more than 500 kilograms the emissions of CO2.

RESOLUTIONS FOR BETTER AIR QUALITY AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT OPTIONS

By organizing the European Mobility Week, the Municipality had to take some permanent measures in order to increase the air quality in town and to promote sustainable means of transport.
Thus, the Ramnicu Valcea Local Council approved by the Resolution no.157/30th of July 2015, the extension of the No.7 public transport bus line that links the north part to the south part of the town, creating 4 new bus line stations in the south part of Ramnicu Valcea, especially on Dem Radulescu Boulevard, an artery of the city that tends to be used more, because of the new housing estate buildings, supermarkets and hospitals area. The south part of the town is also a recreation area, with the Municipal Zoo and the public swimming pool.

Also, the Ramnicu Valcea Local Council approved by the Resolution no.147/30th of July 2015 the partnership between the Municipality of Ramnicu Valcea and the Eco Assist Association for the afforestation of 11 hectares in the area of Feteni, Ramnicu Valcea, acknowledging in this way the younger generation’s impact on air quality as a consequence of their sustainable transport options and caring for nature.



Contact: Leea CATINCESCU

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