Plans of constructing further bike paths in Reykjavík for 2010 and 2011 are behind schedule; constructions are pending an approval of the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) from the European Investment Bank. In addition to constructing more bike paths the city intends to use the money to convert the city buses to an eco-friendly fuel system. The plan is to use hydrogen but currently only a portion of the fleet is fuelled by hydrogen.
Bicycles parked in the city. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
An unanimous agreement of constructing additional 40 kilometers to the existing 10 kilometers bike paths in Reykjavík and to be completed by 2015 was approved by the city council in January 2010; however only 1 kilometer was constructed in Fossvogur cemetery near Perlan, Reykjavík’s popular tourist attraction, last year and two more are to be constructed in Skerjafjördur residential area by Reykjavík Domestic airport and by Fossvogur elementary school.
According to the initial plan bikepaths will go from 10 to 50 kilometers in 2015 and double by 2020. The cost per kilometer is currently ISK 61 millions and the total cost of constructions for this year is ISK 130 million.
Two of Iceland’s largest political parties, the right-wing Sjálfstaedisflokkur and the Social Democratics disagree on the city council’s delays.
“This is a question of prioritizing; should more and more people choose to ride their bikes to work the construction work will pay off. If the Social Democratics weren’t being sincere in their intentions they should have kept quiet,” Councilman Gísli Marteinn Baldursson, a member of Sjálfstaedisflokkur (Independence party) told Morgunbladid.
“The initial plans did not detail the Elena loan as the primary funding of the bike path constructions but it is the most economic way as interests are low. We are also looking into less costly procedures to finance further constructions of bike paths,“ Kristín Soffía Jónsdóttir, a vice-chairman of the city’s Environmental committee told Morgunbladid.