Malaga seeks European funds to create 70 kilometres of new cycle lanes

The city council is working on projects for 16 routes which, added to the existing ones, would give the city 113 kilometres of bike paths

FRANCISCO JIMÉNEZ

Malaga's city council wants to create a 'backbone' network of cycle lanes to interconnect the 11 districts of the provincial capital.

On the table, is a commitment to create 16 new routes, totalling some 70 kilometres, over the next few years making a total of about 113 kilometres cycle lanes, when added to the existing routes.

Although money is needed to make it a reality, the city council will be seeking European funds to finance the plans.

In the short term, the intention is to be able to undertake a good number of them with what Malaga receives from the Next Generation scheme, which are the emergency funds activated by the EU to help recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

«We want the bike to be used more,» said the city mayor, Francisco de la Torre, during the Urban Bicycle Meeting that was held this Thursday (8 July) in Malaga.

The city councillor for Mobility, José del Río, said, «the city is committed to encouraging cycling and making it safe.»

While waiting for funds to arrive the city council intends to put four projects out to tender this year, that have been planned for some time long time: the Héroe de Sostoa 1.2 kilometre cycle route; the one-kilometre Juan XXIII project; the Laguna de la Barrera in Teatinos route of some 720 metres; and the one-kilometre cycle path linking Avenida Cervantes with La Malagueta.

Del Río has also highlighted the municipal plan to extend the public cycle loan system, currently equipped with 24 'stations' and 400 bikes, with the idea of adding 120 stations and another 1,200 bikes, including electric options.

During a meeting of the Bicycle Cities Network, made up of a hundred Spanish cities – which Malaga has just joined – the association's president, Antoni Poveda, highlighted «the opportunity» that European funds can provide for the promoting more sustainable mobility. «The objective is to transform cities so that bikes have the same opportunities as other means of transport. Cycle-friendly cities are more attractive for everyone, and also healthier,» he stressed.