A captivating presentation on the ranking of municipal road infrastructure was organized yesterday at the City Hall of Chișinău, within a meeting of specialists from the Department of Architecture, Transport, Chișinău Project and the office of the Mayor, conducted by assoc. prof., Dr. Ilie BRICICARU, specialist in road safety, director of the Road Safety Observatory within the Technical University of Moldova.
In this context, Ilie Bricicaru presented the concept of “Safe system” for urban infrastructure, emphasizing the need to rank the arteries of the capital and the possibility of implementing traffic management measures to increase road and pedestrian safety.
To the question “How could the arteries of Chișinău be adapted to the needs of the growing road traffic?”, the expert mentioned that the extension of the streets is not a mandatory condition for traffic flow.
“The mobility capacity, safety and quality of a city road network does not reside in how wide the streets are. This concept is very harmful and valid only for street plans with one important user – the driver and the car. The modern city, however, is oriented towards facilitating and comforting traffic for all users, and in the sense of establishing environmental and comfort principles for all, we try to build a friendly city for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable users”, explained Ilie Bricicaru.
In his opinion, a friendly urban infrastructure assumes that the city’s street network must be properly ranked in order to manage comfort and mobility with safe speeds for all participants, which would mean that the city’s streets must be divided into three categories: transit, distribution and local traffic. And according to this plan, we will also deal with the access on these types of streets.
The three divisions target three different types of streets, with different types of transport, behavior and speed management.
“Thus, the transit function would be assigned to the main boulevards, with a traffic speed of over 50 km/h and special protection measures for the vulnerable. On these streets, direct contact between cars and pedestrians must be avoided, and cyclists must not travel on the streets”, the specialist explained.
The local function is largely attributed to the “residential areas”, through which the pedestrians are favored, respectively – transport runs only to bring to residence. Thus, in these areas, the speed (and the possibility of speed) should not exceed 20-30 km/h.
The third type of road – distribution – accepts a speed between 30 and 50 km/h, depending on traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists would be provided with special safety conditions at the intersection with motorized transport.
“This can be observed in European cities, where bicycles can travel on the lane dedicated to public transport. It is a trend that is attempted to be implemented in Chișinău as well – for example, on Pushkin Street. However, a professional approach is needed in this regard, calculating the risks very well, especially in the first phase. That is why it is important to prioritize the network – to remove vehicles from the sidewalks, as they are increasingly dangerous for pedestrians”, concluded Ilie Bricicaru.
Due to the poorly organized infrastructure in the Republic of Moldova, over 40% of people who lose their lives annually as a result of accidents are pedestrians – one of the highest rates in Europe. In comparison, the European average does not exceed 25%.