Sakarya 08-05-2013 In the framework of the celebration of 400 years of diplomatic relationships between the Netherlands and Turkey the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment commissioned the Dutch Cycling Embassy to support a Turkish city in the (further) development of its cycling policies. In collaboration with EMBARQ Türkiye two Dutch experts conducted a workshop in the Turkish city Sakarya on 26 and 27 March 2013. Sakarya was selected for this project on the basis of earlier contacts of this city with the Dutch ngo Interface for Cycling Expertise I-CE. In 2010 ENBARQ Türkiye commissioned I-CE to conduct a series of 3 workshops in Sakarya to develop a plan for a pilot cycling route and to strat up a cycling-incluse urban transport policy. This project provided a good opportunity to evaluate the impact of the 2010 workshops, the assess the progress made after 2010, to review new plans for cycling provisions and (if relevant) to make recommendations for further improvements. The workshop learnt that the lessons of 2010 were used for the design of an additional 50 kms of cycling infrastructure. However, Turkish national guidelines for cycling ionfrastructure that have been drafted since 2010 suggest that smaller widths are acceptable in comparison with the minimum widths recommended by the Dutch experts in 2010. An important recommendation therefore is, to welcome the coming into existence of Turkish guidelines for cycling infrastructure and to ask for a review of these guidelines with involvement of international experts. For Sakarya the Dutch experts suggest to reconsider a number of the cross sections as proposed for their cycling routes. Also some general recommendations were made with regard to an integrated cycling-inclusive vision on transport for Sakarya, and subsequently the overall network management in Sakarya. The provision of cycling infrastructure is meant to result in increased bicycle use. And although safe and attractive cycling-friendly infrastructure is an important condition for increased bicycle use, probably it won’t be enough to bring about substantial shifts in the modal share of cycling and thus to take full advantage of the potential of cycling to contribute to the liveability of Sakarya. Therefore Sakarya should look also at other elements that make a cycling culture. The low social status of cycling in Turkey is definitely one of the challenges that needs to be addressed. The implementation of cycling infrastructure should be accompanied by public awareness and promotion campaigns. It would be worthwhile to make an in depth analysis of all cultural and societal factors in Sakarya (and Turkey) that interfere with the emergence of a Turkish cycling culture.
In March 2013, we organized two workshops for different departments of the City of Sakarya in order to establish a basic policy plan for Cycling in Sakarya.