The main goal of the this good practice is to gradually eliminate car traffic from the historical centre of Baia Mare and to reclaim this place for pedestrians.
The revitalisation of the historical centre started with two projects both aiming to generate a pedestrian friendly area, strengthen the cultural identity and thus increase the quality of public space.
The first project was about the revitalisation of Liberty Square (Piaţa Libertăţii) and the partially pedestrianisation of the nearby streets like: Mihai Viteazul street, Dacia street, Vasile Lucaciu street and Lăcătuş street. This first extended place dedicated to pedestrians was financed under the PHARE programme.
The second project is concerned with the rehabilitation of the Fortress Square and Stephen's Tower (Piaţa Cetăţii şi Turnul lui Ştefan) and was financed under the Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013.
Both projects are tackling the problem of degrading historical centres which were taken over by car traffic in the last 20 years. The main goal of the policy is therefore to gradually eliminate car traffic from the historical centre of Baia Mare and to reclaim this place for pedestrians. The policy is therefore supported by 3 types of projects (just 2 of them are detailed): regeneration of iconic public spaces, transforming streets into pedestrian areas and building parking places at the entrance into the historical centre. In this regard, the two interlinked projects kickstarted this pedestrianisation process by giving locals the possibility to better understand the added value of such interventions.
Both projects are funded by EU funds in 2 different financial frameworks
1. Fortress Square, Stephen's Tower (Piaţa Cetăţii , Turnul lui Ştefan) and nearby streets – 2.000.000 euro (under ROP 2007-2013)
2. Liberty Square and nearby streets – 4.300.000 euro P(HARE)
Evidence of success
The two projects represent a clear evidence that opening streets for pedestrians and banning cars can greatly enhance the quality of public space. Both projects won multiple awards (ex. Fortress Square nominated for the European Public Space Award – CCCB) and thus managed to greatly increase the image of Baia Mare as an attractive, welcoming and pedestrian friendly city. The policy was integrated in the SUMP so that the city continues the step by step pedestrianisation of the central area.
At the beginning resistance was quite fierce - mostly shop owners were against pedestrianisation because they feared that they would lose customers as parking placed were removed - opposition decreased considerably after the first weeks following the implementation
Potential for learning or transfer
Great design and a perfect execution where the key factors for the rebirth of this two iconic squares and the nearby pedestrian links. Also, the strong political will to transform this central area into an attractive pedestrian space, was one of the main factors of success. Without the mayor closing off the streets overnight, this project would still be e concept today.
The interventions where well planned and linked to other projects, all aiming to contribute to the rebirth of the historical centre: new parking units at the entrances of the area, restoration of several heritage buildings and a large number of events to promote the identity and values of the city. All these are followed by a rebranding of the city as an important touristic destination and as a place for creative industries. In 2016, Baia Mare was even considered as a finalist in the race for European Capital of Culture.
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