Guidelines for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in Vilnius were created to achieve better quality by helping planners, designers and implementers.
Guidelines for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in Vilnius were created to achieve better infrastructure quality by helping planners and designers. By 2016, there were not many cycle paths in Vilnius and even fewer paths were satisfactory quality. To increase the number of bike commuters, there was a need to have a sufficient and good quality cycling network.
In 2016 guidelines for cycling infrastructure were prepared. This document included guidelines and checklist as well as many pictures and examples from other cities. The document included a framework on how to design cycling infrastructure: cycle paths/lanes, intersections, what design solutions to avoid etc.
To achieve better pedestrian infrastructure quality and increase the number of pedestrian commuters, similar guidelines for pedestrian infrastructure included basic rules for infrastructure and checklist, focusing on comfort by all of it means (e. g. street greenery, street design in general, etc.), and safety: crossings, tactile paving for blind and visually impaired people. These guidelines are seen as a tool for better project quality in Vilnius. The guidelines have five sections:
1. Comfort and reasonableness of infrastructure;
2. Safety, avoidance of obstacles and conflicts;
4. Requirements for construction;
5. Other recommendations.
Local resources could be used to prepare such document. Also time for meeting with public groups, local stakeholders to discuss the contents of the document.
Evidence of success
Guidelines are setting a higher quality standard for better infrastructure that is specified by the national standards. Most of new pedestrian paths in Vilnius are not 1.5, but 2.25 metres (as proposed in pedestrian infrastructure guidelines) wide. After the adoption of the guidelines, reconstruction of infrastructure took place and the number of safer intersections increased. Tactile paving started to be implemented in the older infrastructure and not chaotically.
The main challenge was to make the guidelines work: it takes time to adopt the document and a lot of work with stakeholders and decision makers for them to be fully implemented. We also learned that it is important to involve a variety citizens and NGO's in the making process of the guidelines.
Potential for learning or transfer
Some of the cities in Europe that have streetscape or infrastructure guidelines. Each city has its own differences and uniqueness and because of that more specific city’s guidelines could complement national standards.
The main advantage is the process of creation of the guidelines – when there are stakeholders involved – the discussion is helping a lot, as well as the way of education of decision makers.
Having a short, illustrative and reality based document help designers and city officials make better decisions and, when prepared together with stakeholders, is some kind of “contract” between the city (which sets higher quality standards) and society (which needs infrastructure of high quality).
This document can also help to collect best practices that are applicable in the city and be easily understood (e.g. without language barrier) by more people.
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