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Pedestrians vs. Drivers

According to Georgia's Road Traffic Law (Chapter III, Paragragh 20), all pedestrians should be able to walk safely along sidewalks and pedestrian paths." Apart from Tbilisi, two capital cities in the post-Soviet area - Kyiv and Chisinau - have been afforded this legal guarantee.

For each of the three cities that are the focus of the Neighbors project- Tbilisi, Kyiv and Chisinau -the law and reality are completely different.

In the capital of Georgia, the main problem for pedestrians is pedestrian paths being turned into parking spaces. As it became more difficult to walk, the number of road accidents involving pedestrians has increased drastically over the past three years.

The video reflects the situation that has developed on the streets of Tbilisi.

Gela Kvashilava, board chairman and founder of the Road Safety Partnership NGO, has been working on urban issues in the capital since 2006. Using the example of Shevchenko Street, he shows us what the situation is like on a central street in the Georgian capital.

Gela Kvashilava thinks that, with its obvious traffic problems, Tbilisi is a city for drivers, not pedestrians.

Compared with Tbilisi, pedestrian paths in the Ukrainian capital are much wider. The main problem for pedestrians is the behavior of drivers and zebra crossings.

People in Kyiv are divided on how pedestrian-friendly the city is.

According to the transport strategy, pedestrians have priority in Kyiv. However, transport expert Dmytro Bespalov tells us that the reality is different:

Kyiv's parking system is yet another obstacle to pedestrians. Because of the shortage of spaces, drivers are forced to park on pedestrian paths and public transport lanes. However, unlike Tbilisi and Chisinau, Kyiv has an electronic payment system, which is more convenient for drivers.

Unlike Tbilisi and Chisinau, Kyiv has the most diverse range of methods to pay for parking. The parking application shows available spaces in the city and also makes it easy to pay. Journalist Oleksandr Yaroschuk shows us how the parking mobile application works.

Kyiv's main avenue, Khreshchatyk, is closed to traffic on weekends and is available to pedestrians, who can walk there freely during that period. Parking is also restricted on Khreshchatyk. Roman Shchypkov, deputy director of the Kyivpastrans municipal transport company, believes that the government was right to take this decision.

In the capital of Moldova, apart from cars being parked on pedestrian paths, there is also the problem of the poor walking surface. Pedestrians complain about their shoes being damaged often. This is what people in Chisinau think about how easy it is to walk around the city:

Journalist and sociologist Vitalie Sprinceana sees Chisinau as one big parking lot. He highlights the lack of control, with drivers being able to park their cars at any place without any restrictions.

Automotive club director Vladislav Dumanov agrees totally with Vitalie Sprinceana, adding that despite the fact that the new Urban Development Plan was approved in 2007, the Chisinau authorities still use an obsolete General Urban Development Plan dating back to the 1970s:

The poor state of sidewalks is a significant factor that contributes to pedestrians being involved in 30% of road accidents in Chisinau. Both Vitalie Sprinceana and Tatiana Mihailova, of the Safe Roads NGO, highlight this general problem:

Iurie Povar, director of the Urbanproiect Institute and co-author of the General Urban Development Plan, approved in 2007, says that a solution has already been offered to the city authorities, but they still have not taken measures to address the problems.

Compared with European cities post-Soviet capitals still provide low guarantees for pedestrian rights. Besides the problems faced which the Neighbors project explored, an additional significant problem is that of driving culture, which is a matter of society awareness. Related persons and experts all agreed that time is crucial in order to set up European transport values and culture in the post-Soviet environment.

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