The Municipality of Maribor hosted on April 10th and 11th 2017 a team of experts from Netherlands, Czech Republic and Sweden to discuss retail related traffic and revival of old city center. The Mayor of Maribor, Andrej Fištravec welcomed the experts from partner cities and representatives of municipal departments – Traffic and spatial department, Environmental department, Department for economics and Tourist Board.
The first day of Maribor Peer Review was dedicated to presentations of the Maribor Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, traffic and retail situation, pedestrian zone and attractive events and offers in historical city center. After the presentations the Expert team made a site visit to the city center and pedestrian zone, where the area at the river Drava and the Koroška Street was exposed as possible new pedestrian zones.
The second day was dedicated to the discussion between experts and representatives of municipal departments about challenges in the City of Maribor such as:
Is new pedestrianization in city center reducing economic growth?
Is it possible to reduce delivery in pedestrian zone and at the same time boost inner city revival?
2. Urban Logistics
Where are the limits to reduce delivery in pedestrian zone?
3. How to make public transport more attractive?
4. Communication with local stakeholders
How to communicate new measures to inhabitants and shop owners?
After the discussion the experts presented conclusions and advise to participants of the Peer Review. Since Maribor has good accessibility (by road or train) and rich history, it has a big potential in terms of attractiveness.
Clear rules and strict enforcement should be introduced for pedestrianization and traffic issues. The city could improve quality of existing pedestrian zone, define carefully which area could be pedestrianized next and carry out a survey for modal split of the visitors. There are lots of chances for cycling because of the flat city centre and enough space on streets, most trips within the city are short distances.
Urban Logistics - retail in the city
Demographical, cultural and technological changes affect consumers, so local retailers must be able to cope with this issue. City logistics requires also public – private cooperation, involvement of local stakeholders (retailers, residents, politicians and visitors), the city should focus on efficient and low emission last mile.
Public transport could be improved by: increasing frequencies, new comfortable vehicles with low floor, introducing electro-buses, new lines driving through the pedestrian area. Small electric buses could be introduced to connect the area at Drava River – Lent with city centre and shopping centre Europark.
Communication with local stakeholders
The citizens, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders should be involved actively in planning, policies and projects by organizing events such as workshops, individual meetings, creating focus groups.
Cooperation among municipal departments should be intensified as well as taking in consideration the nomination of a municipal city manager.
The Maribor Peer Review offered an opportunity to hear about best practices in other cities which could be implemented in Maribor as well as review the potential of the city and combine possible solutions among different departments and other stakeholders. The project is connecting public institutions with private stakeholders in the city to create a better urban space for all.