Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer participated in the march organized on September 22, Car Free Day. Speaking at the “Cities for Humans and Without Automobiles” Talk, Soyer said, “Cities need to be designed as spaces for people to live in peace. We are working hard to make İzmir a city where you can walk with pleasure, which is on its way to becoming the world's first Cittaslow Metropolis.”
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, which organized a series of events as part of the European Mobility Week, broke new ground in Turkey and opened a total of 22 thousand 30 meters of road in 7 districts to the use of pedestrians and cyclists on September 522, Car Free Day. Art, culture and sports activities were held on Gaziosmanpaşa Boulevard, which is closed to traffic all day long, which attracted the interest of people of all ages.
Car-Free City Day in Izmir started with a march attended by Izmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Band and cortege marching from Kültürpak to Gazi Osman Paşa Boulevard Mayor Tunç Soyer, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Deputy Mayor Mustafa Özuslu, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality General Secretary Dr. Buğra Gökçe, municipal bureaucrats and people of İzmir accompanied him. President Soyer started the 'Taytay Race' of İZELMAN Kindergartens Gürçeşme Branch students on Gazi Osman Paşa Boulevard.
There is an alternative to the motor vehicle
Stating that all bicycles within BISIM can be used free of charge by the citizens of Izmir on the Car Free City Day, Mayor Tunç Soyer said, “On the occasion of the Car Free City Day, it is possible to reach the desired destination without cars on the streets; We would like to explain that the use of pedestrians and bicycles is an alternative to motor vehicles. We aim for our streets to be embraced more by all Izmir residents. Transportation and traffic load is one of the most fundamental problems of our cities. After experiencing the pandemic process, we experience that this load is increasing day by day. The traffic load in İzmir is also very high. However, no matter how many new roads we open, it is not possible to exceed the carrying capacity as long as the use of automobiles does not decrease and public transportation is preferred.
We produce radical solutions
Underlining that they have made important studies to reduce the increasing traffic load with the use of private vehicles during the pandemic period, President Soyer said: “We produce radical solutions by strengthening the rail systems and creating bicycle and pedestrian transportation networks that we integrate into it. In this context, we are implementing the Buca Metro, which is the biggest investment in İzmir's history, and the Narlıdere Metro projects, which we have completed at a rate of 80%, despite the pandemic and economic crisis. Our Çiğli Tramway is under construction. We continue our efforts to implement the Karabağlar - Gaziemir, Otogar - Kemalpaşa metros. We promised to buy 500 new buses. We bought 451 of them in just 2,5 years. We have included Uğur Mumcu and Fethi Sekin ferries into the İZDENİZ fleet.”
“If we slow down, we return to our nature”
Also mentioning the importance of walking in his speech, Soyer said, “We are a part of nature and we overlook it. Because of this, we become alienated from ourselves and become unhappy. The more we can live a life in harmony with the rhythm of nature in our cities, the closer we will be to happiness. For this reason, we are working hard to make İzmir a city where you can walk with pleasure on the way to becoming the first Cittaslow Metropolis in the world. It is necessary to design cities as spaces where people can live peacefully. Cittaslow Metropol will be one of its instruments. European Mobility Week makes a significant contribution to our sustainable transportation goals this year, as it does every year.”
Thanks to President Soyer
Angel Gutierrez Hidalgo, Head of the Economic and Social Development Department of the EU Delegation to Turkey, started his speech by thanking President Soyer. Hidalgo said, “İzmir is one of the leading cities in the Sustainable Urban Mobility project. We see from the participation of the citizens that they care about this issue. The most important point here is that the behavior takes action. Here, especially institutions and municipalities have great duties. Infrastructure and transportation investments are of great importance in taking action. When behaviors change, we can actually benefit from mobility.”
We will create an exemplary model in Izmir
Göktuğ Kara from the EU Delegation to Turkey, who moderated the conversation, pointed out that the use of bicycles and pedestrians will increase in the next 10 years and pointed out that the 5 percent decrease in public transportation caused a 10 percent increase in the vehicle traffic in the city. Cittaslow Metropol İzmir Project Coordinator Bülent Köstem said that they are trying to create an exemplary model by applying the principle of mobility and walkability in neighborhoods in İzmir. İzmir Institute of Technology (İYTE) lecturer Prof. Dr. Erdem Erten, on the other hand, pointed out that urban health should be a priority in order to ensure urban mobility.