Green news from Budapest

Article published on Feb. 27, 2009
Article published on Feb. 27, 2009
Budapest is the winner of The European Mobility Week 2008. The Hungarian capital came before the Portuguese Almada and the Croatian capital, Zagreb. The seventh European Mobility Week was held from 16 to 22 September 2008 and more than 1000 cities have joined in. The keyword is ’Clear air for all’ what says lot about the aim of the project.
The goal is of course to find - instead of cars - alternative solutions for transport moreover, to see how citizens and politicians can work together on the issue. It is also important part of the program to find minimally one politician in every city as a leader for the good cause.

As Tom Rye, member of the jury and expert for public transport said, the most important is to have a long-term plan or a proposal which aims promoting existing policies, initiatives and best practices related to sustainable urban mobility. The plan has to contain contribution to raising citizens’ awareness on the damages that current urban mobility trends generate on the environment. Essential is to improve the quality of life and being part of a Europe wide campaign, sharing a common goal and a common identity with other towns and cities. „The Hungarian capital introduced and promoted several permanent measures to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable transport, such as expanding the downtown pedestrian area, increasing parking fees in the city centre, improving metro and tram infrastructure and services, and introducing new bicycle lanes and 'park and ride' facilities.” - was the reason for the first prize.

Tamás Gonzik, deputy lord mayor has represented Budapest on the ceremony in Brussels on 23rd February. He mentioned in his speech that the award actually goes to citizens of Budapest - probably because the city council wasn’t too active. The truth is that some volunteers (for example people from organisation Critical Mass) did a lot for promoting cycling and public transport. Therefore this prize deserving mainly the non-governmental organisations whose actions meet citizen’s eye and many people participate on their events as well.

There are still arguments in the parliament because the government took away about 12 billion forints from developing cycling roads. The reason is the financial crisis of course but Csaba Molnár, minister of transport said there will be build about 300 km new roads until 2013 and they’re trying to keep one billion forint for new green-developments as well.

Another green-news from Budapest is that the capital signed an EU climate change agreement with another 350 cities as well. In the spirit of „think globally, act locally”, Jose Mauel Barosso president of the European Commission said: "voluntary actions by citizens are crucial, changing our energy behaviour, making intelligent investments, adopting smart mobility practices, these are actions that need to be motivated.”

The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and increase energy-efficiency and alternative solutions by 20 percent. From October 2009 in the central of Budapest can only appear cars with so-called „green-transfer picture” and the city council has a plan for the other smog-alert as well. It means minimally 100.000 forints penalty for people who break the law during this period. The city’s plan is to implement an energy-institution for monitoring the energy-consumption and – conditioning. Gábor Demszky, mayor of Budapest expects decreasing of cars in the city by building the new metro- and some tram lines.