Lviv has taken yet another step to enhance its bicycle culture. The city and its partner nextbike launched their bike sharing scheme on March 30, 2016. They teamed up within the development partnership program ‘DeveloPPP.de’, which is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
We have spoken with Lviv’s cycling commissioner Oleh Schmid and Orest Chuguievets (GIZ) about the role and current state of cycling, the need for proper infrastructure and the new sharing scheme as a part of the city’s Integrated Urban Development Concept.
Ukraine’s nextbike representative Ostap Budenkevych gives a heads up to further extensions of the system in Lviv and potentially other cities. nextbike CEO Sebastian Schlebusch shares his motivation to step into the Ukrainian market.
Orest Chuguievets (Ukrainian-German Cooperation Project “Municipal Development and Rehabilitation of the Old City of Lviv”, GIZ)
What role does cycling play in Lviv’s Integrated Urban Development Concept?
The Integrated Urban Development Concept for the central part of Lviv has identified several weaknesses and threats due to the traffic modal split in 2011. While a high number of passengers use private cars and public transport, the use of bicycles had been almost insignificant. High levels of CO2 and noise pollution are just two examples of how the living environment has been negatively influenced. Thus, the concept foresees the improvement of bike related infrastructure and related measures to change behavior and finally the modal split.
What is the expected impact of the bike-sharing system, in particular in view of the concept?
In this context, the nextbike project can be considered a success. And here we do not just refer to the implementation of the bike-sharing system, which is part of the concept, but would like to add several more advantages coming along with it.
Through the project the accessibility of the city centre will be increased and the number of privately used cars reduced. Due to the station placement in different parts of the city and the introduction of bike lanes, the city centre of Lviv is now better connected with its surrounding neighborhoods. The tense situation regarding parking spaces and traffic jams in the centre can be tackled and partly improved. This leads to the reduction of noise and CO2-emission, and to an increase of traffic safety. The possibility to rent bicycles in the city also adds to the offers for tourists and provides a new way to discover the city.
And finally, not to mention least, more visible and more often used bicycles in the public space will increase awareness on this mode of alternative transport. The project is paving the way for other initiatives and measures which will contribute as well to the successful implementation of the Integrated Development Concept.
Oleh Schmid (Cycling commissioner of Lviv)
Lviv is a forerunner in the development of cycling in Ukraine. What are the main results in 2015 and how do you proceed in 2016?
Last year, we have started to connect the fragments of the existing bicycle network into a single whole. We have completed the northern branch, which connects the farthest northern neighborhoods with the city center.
Today, we have about 65 km of bicycle lanes. Last year’s construction works have been very dynamic, a development which we hope to continue in 2016. This year’s budget includes many new cycling infrastructure projects – on Horodotska Street, in Briukhovichi, on Chervonoyi Kalyny, Sadova, Bohdanivska, Stusa and Khmelnytskoho. We will further continue to construct missing fragments of bicycle lanes on Volodymyra Velykoho and implement cycling lanes on small streets, which are renovated by district administrations. In 2016 we are very likely to exceed 100 km. According to the 10-year program, we plan to construct 268 km of bicycle lanes until 2020.
What will happen next in 2016?
We’ll continue that work next year and unite the network fragments in the South of Lviv. Furthermore, bicycle infrastructure will be built up towards Western (Horodotska street) and Eastern (Levytskoho street) districts as well.
The construction of the recreational bicycle lane in the suburban area Briukhovychi, the development of the bicycle network in the biggest Lviv district Sykhiv and also the realization of the central bicycle circle will be main projects as well.
We expect that the total length of the bicycle lanes in Lviv will exceed 100 km within the next year.
Ostap Budenkevych (nextbike Ukraine LLC)
Would you be so kind to give us some information on the key economic features of the system?
The first project phase includes 55 bikes at five stations. They are financed by the DeveloPPP.de program and nextbike Ukraine LLC in almost equal shares. We had some technical issues to be considered, but are happy to launch now.
The second phase includes the system’s extension to 22 stations and 220 bikes. The investment costs which will be fully covered by private business partners and sponsorship. During 2016, we plan to involve costs for further extension in 2017 to 50 stations in Lviv. We also hope for some external co-finance from the municipality and foreign partners.
What are the prospects of setting up further bike sharing systems in other Ukrainian cities?
We started negotiations with the administration of Kyiv and began the feasibility study process. We received applications from Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano Frankivsk, Vinnytsa, Lutsk, Uzhgorod, Kharkiv and Kryvyy Rig as well. In case of external financial assistance we are able to launch those projects within the next one or two years.
Sebastian Schlebusch (nextbike)
Why are you interested in the Ukrainian market? What are special requirements and lessons learnt so far?
In the past few years we’ve seen bicycle sharing systems mushrooming all over the world – even and particularly in those cities and countries where cycling doesn`t have a strong history. On the contrary, we have experienced the highest volumes in cities with less developed bicycle culture. There seems to be a natural demand for our services wherever our system is implemented.
Besides, important prerequisites for successful development are a dedicated local partner with good experience regarding cycling activities and a strong support from city administration. Both are the case in the Ukraine.
In this context, we have to underline that the work from GIZ SUTP has definitely helped to increase the level of understanding for mobility challenges and solutions among local administrations.
Sustainable Mobility in Lviv – Online Portal: https://mobilitylviv.com/en/
Lviv – Cycling Capital of Ukraine: https://sutp.org/publications/case-study-lviv-the-cycling-captial-of-ukraine/