Minsk Bicycle Community Wins Grant Under the TANDEM Project

The NGO "Minsk Cycling Community" has won a grant under the TANDEM program "Cooperation for citizen participation and community development in the Republic of Belarus." Funding is provided by the European Union’s Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development programme.

More than 80 grant proposals were submitted, 10 of which were winners. Including our project "Cooperation of the local community and local authorities to create a micro-level bicycle infrastructure."

Project location is chosen to be the Moscow district of Minsk. The project will start in spring 2012 and last 12 months. The district currently has an infrastructure that is poorly adapted for bicycle transportation. The reasons: outdated design standards and failure to comply with new rules, non-participation of local people in solving problems, lack of social control in planning and carrying out construction and repair.

.At the level of the city of Minsk, the concept of the development of cycling has been approved. It calls for storage facilities at the neighborhood level, guest parking for  bicycles, safe bike paths within the district, and their connection with the trunk routes. Part of this infrastructure can be used by other categories of people: mothers with prams, wheelchair users. The existing infrastructure is not ready for this, and without it,  it would be impossible to reach a comfort level of cycling that  allows iit to substantially ncrease its share of citywide transport.

According to Eugene Horuzhy, chairman of the NGO Minsk Cycling Community, "At this point, there is neither a well-defined demand for cycling infrastructure from the residents, nor an understanding in government structures how to handle such demand" - Lack of good mechanism of social control building. The project is implemented in order to fill this gap, the inhabitants of the neighborhood to show that they can independently take part in decisions on infrastructure issues through the creation of bicycle infrastructure.

Julia Inysheva