LONDON - For years they’ve been saying it will never happen. For years it’s been dismissed as little more than a pipe dream, a flight of fancy, a mere hypothesis, and yet maybe the dream is inching ever closer to becoming reality. And then again, maybe it’s not.
And that’s how it’s been for decades. I am of course talking about the Vilnius Metro, or rather the metro Vilnius does not have - the Vilnius Metro that is perhaps most conspicuous by its absence.
Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) delivered Vilnius Metro concession bill, which aims to implement a new type of transport in the country – metro and open the way for billions of long-term investment in transport infrastructure in Lithuania. 84 percent of the parliamentarians vote for the bill and sent it to the parliamentary committees for further consideration.
On the 26th of May this year an international conference “Small cities’ metropolitans: their implementation reasons and benefits” has been organised by citizens’ association “Metro Sąjūdis” together with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and Vilnius’ municipality. During the conference transport development provisions were introduced, which had been established in the European Commission’s White Book “Transport 2050”. Moreover, foreign countries’ experience in modernising public transport and implementing metropolitan were analysed.
15 km detour, instead of possible 1 km trip in straight line, is the price, people, currently living in Zuikių street (Vilnius), have to pay in order to reach main part of the city. But people have discovered ways to significantly shorten the trip: cross the railway tracks, after climbing a steep hill or go through the sewer tunnel.
Popular choice is a passage through the sewer tunnel. Tunnel is narrow, so people have to bend to be able to succesfully cross it. Traveling this way requires a lot of endurance not only for the old, but for the young too. In spring or rainy fall, sewer is flooded so people have to wade.
Population surveys show that most residents of Vilnius identify transportation in the city as one of the biggest problems. A number of years have been spent discussing how to solve this problem, what new means of public transportation should be introduced. World practice shows that most transport issues are resolved by cities that install metro system.
„Construction and architecture“ magazine begins series of articles about how cities of similar to Vilnius size were building a subway. First, the subway construction story of the German city of Nuremberg. In this city, just like in Vilnius, underground tram was originally proposed, but concept of metro prevailed, and after eleven years of discussion the construction began. In other articles we will present metropolitan construction stories of Helsinki, Oslo, Rennes, Stockholm, Brussels and other European cities, their impact on urban development and economy, their metro modernization and expansion plans.
Researchers found that traffic congestions are created by drivers who drive too aggressively or too shy.
Although the main cause of traffic jams on busy roads can be car accident, road narrowing or drivers attempts to change lanes, the main reason for traffic stop is the reaction of people driving behind the upcoming obstacle.
More info at www.delfi.lt
Giruliai residents, tired of continuous noise from trains passing by, filed complaints and requests to various institutions. Although Klaipeda Public Health Centre, after carrying out noise measurements, stated, that noise level is above standard, Giruliai residents are still unable to achieve their goal in minimizing discomfort caused by trains.
Read more at www.delfi.lt
METRO MOVEMENT comment:
Analogic problems afflicts not only residents of Giruliai. Also struggling for the elimination of one level crossings and the installation of sound-insulating enclosure are people of Lentvaris, Plunge, Mazeikiai, Siauliai, Amaliai. When the economy grows, rail traffic becomes more intense, speed is increasing and that means more and more threat to the local population. EU has given out more than a bilion litas for railway reconstruction and ecology, but these funds are not being used. The problem can only be solved if people from mentioned cities unite their efforts.
On September 6th-8th, in Moscow, Congress for Eurasian countries with theme of "Public Transport – driving force to the city economy" was held. During the crisis, this is a crucial topic, because the implementation and development of efficient transport systems, enables city to employ more people and creates the potential for further growth. This is evidenced by the history and current example of our neighbor Poland.
Unfortunately, good examples do not affect our government. Despite the billions of euros in economic loss as a result of the undeveloped transport system and public transport, in particular, the Lithuanian authorities and organizations responsible for transportation in the state or companies working in the field, did not participate in the conference, even though proposals to participate were sent out to the Ministry of Transport, Vilnius Municipality, the municipal enterprise „Vilniaus planas“ and other organizations invovled in exploring, planning and designing transportation systems. Congress was attended only by public institution „Vilniaus metro“ and UAB „Metroprojektas“ representatives. Explanation can be only one: "World Basketball Championship is more important than the transport situation in Vilnius city“.
Vilnius is a capitol city of Lithuania. It is political, cultural, economical, educational and scientific center. The population of Vilnius is 542 thousand, but including suburbs the number would reach 850 thousand. Furthermore, every day Vilnius City is visited by 150 thousand people who work there or use various services. Therefore, one of the biggest problems in Vilnius City is the problem of transportation. More than a half of Vilnius residents indicated this problem as a major one.