Kazan takes up the concept of cycling infrastructure development again

Kazan takes up the concept of cycling infrastructure development again
Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maksim Platonov

Kazan, despite the title of the third capital of Russia, is noticeably inferior to Moscow and St. Petersburg in the development of infrastructure for cyclists, which has become an integral feature of a modern and developed city. Bicycles as a means of transportation are becoming more and more popular among residents of the capital of Tatarstan, and bicycle couriers, hurrying one after another to deliver an order, can be found on almost every street. However, the authorities, which annually organise the Night Bike Fest in the city, designed to attract tourists, are still aware of the need for the development of bicycle infrastructure. For example, its creation is being put into projects for the reconstruction of old and construction of new roads, and in the future, as Realnoe Vremya found out, the length of bike paths in Kazan is going to grow five times.

The concept will be prepared by the Institute of City Development

To date, the specialists of the Institute of City Development MBI are developing the Concept for the development of cycling infrastructure, the press service of the Mayor's Office of the capital of Tatarstan told Realnoe Vremya. At the same time, the authorities told about the development of such document back in June 2021 — then it was prepared by specialists of the Transport Planning Bureau at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of Kazan. They identified an increase in the connectivity of existing cycle lanes in the city centre with residential areas as the first stage of the concept implementation.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maksim Platonov

As for the Concept, which is being developed by the experts of the Institute of Urban Development, it will be aimed “on the one hand — at popularising cycling movements, and on the other hand — at creating a network of urban cycle routes," the Kazan Mayor's office stated. When creating it, specialists will take into account all the proposals for the development of bicycle infrastructure that have been accepted and are being prepared for approval. They will also take into account the requests and interests of citizens who in the future will use the paths to move around Kazan.

“The creation of bicycle communication from Gorky Central Park to Baturin St. became a project stage on the way to the implementation of the concept of the development of bicycle infrastructure in Kazan. To date, the first stage of the project of this bicycle communication has been implemented — a cycle lane on Bolshaya Krasnaya Street, which connects the Square named after Tolstoy with the existing ring route," the mayor's office said.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maksim Platonov

The cycle lane on Bolshaya Krasnaya with a width of 2,5 metres appeared in Kazan in the summer of 2021. The authorities made the choice in favour of this particular street in connection with its freedom, in comparison, for example, with Karl Marx or Gorky streets, from “red buses” and trolleybuses: “There is no public transport along almost the entire length of the street," explained Timur Kadyrov, the deputy chief architect of Kazan.

Let us remind that the city was thinking about the concept of a Large Kazan cycling ring, covering the streets of Bolshaya Krasnaya — Gorky — Ershova — Gorky Park — Podluzhnaya — Kremlin Embankment — Nuzhina — Universitetskaya. But years have passed, and they failed to bring it to life.

Later, a project of a route from the Universiade Village to the main building of the Kazan Federal University appeared, which has not been implemented to this day, although perhaps, it could partially solve the problem of congestion of buses No. 47 and trolleybuses No. 8, on which students travel. The creation of the cycle route was previously estimated at 643 million rubles

If there is targeted financing — there will be cycle lanes

To date, the total length of existing bicycle communications in Kazan, if we do not take into account the corresponding infrastructure of parks, squares and embankments, reaches about 15 kilometres. According to the plans, it is expected to grow five times — up to 75 kilometres. However, it is unknown by what year this bar will be reached. By the way, the Kazan authorities talked about bike paths with a length of 75 kilometres back in 2021, when they stretched for 12 kilometres.

If we talk about the recreational areas of Kazan, the length of cycle lanes on their territory is about 6 kilometres. In the public spaces of the city, lovers of two-wheeled transport can ride along a specially designated lane, for example, on the Kremlin Embankment, on the White Flowers and Festivalnaya boulevards, on the embankment of Kaban Lake and in some other parks and squares.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maksim Platonov

The first looped cycling route in the capital of Tatarstan, as the authorities recalled, appeared almost 10 years ago. In 2015, it was laid in the city centre — along the streets of Kremlevskaya, Dzerzhinsky, Teatralnaya, Baturina and Kremlin Embankment. The total length was 4,7 kilometres.

As in many other issues, including road issues, everything depends on money — there will be no allocated funding, and there will be no infrastructure for two-wheeled transport. The authorities did not specify how much money is required for these purposes and how much has already been invested, but back in 2021, for example, they allowed the possibility of attracting investments.

“The introduction of bicycle infrastructure in the city and the increase in the length of existing segments of cycle lanes in the coming years will be carried out with the allocation of targeted funding," stated id the Mayor's Office of Kazan.

Photo: realnoevremya.ru/Maksim Platonov

They also added that the cycling infrastructure in the city appears, as a rule, thanks to the national project “Safe high-quality highways”. If possible, its creation is also envisaged when developing documentation for the repair and reconstruction of urban highways under other programmes.

For example, at the end of April, the first stage of the Gorky Highway backup road was fully opened in Kazan — a cycle lane was laid along the four-lane highway from Nesmelova St. to the Temple of All Religions with a length of 6,2 kilometres. Lanes for cyclists will also appear in the implementation of other large-scale road projects — during the construction of the Voznesensky Tract, the reconstruction of the Gorky Highway and the bridge along Nursultan Nazarbayev Street.

The work is also nearing completion in the capital of Tatarstan on the construction of a cycle lane along the Kremlin Dam from the Kazan Family Centre to Proletarskaya Street and a bike path along Sibgata Khakima Street. The works began there in the second half of 2022, allocating over 300 million rubles for these purposes.

The cycle lane will be part of a 40-kilometre bike-walking route from the Blue Lakes to the Volga. There will be recreation areas and access to the water along the entire route, equipped with urns, bike parks and swivel benches-chairs.

Tatyana Demina

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