4th Assembly of the CIVINET Network and Roundtable on planning of sustainable urban mobility held in Maribor

On 17th of February 2017, City of Maribor hosted 4th Assembly of network for sustainable mobility CIVINET Slovenia-Croatia-Southeastern Europe. It was an opportunity for gathering of members of the most numerous European network CIVINET, which currently has over 120 members from 7 countries. 65 members of the Network gathered in Maribor - representatives of cities, ministries, faculties, institutes, CSOs, companies and other stakeholders from the field of sustainable transport in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. ODRAZ has the role of the secretariat of this Network.

The Assembly was opened by the Network coordinator Srđan Škunca from the City of Rijeka. The Assembly was welcomed by the Mayor of Maribor, Andrej Fištravec, who simultaenously presented current projects and activities of the City of Maribor in the area of sustainable mobility. Just before the Assembly, meetings of new Board of directors as well as Political board, consisting of representatives of cities and municipalities, were held.

The coordinator Škunca informed the members of the Assembly about the suggestion regarding the increase of members of Board of Directors of the Network and new composition, which better reflects the structure of the membership. Lidija Pavić-Rogošić (ODRAZ/Secretariat of the Network) announced changes and amendments to the Statute, in order to align it with the new circumstances in which the Network works. Further, Vlado Babić from the City of Ljubljana, coordinator of this Network until September 2016, presented the Report about the activities of the Network in the year 2016, while Lidija Pavić-Rogošić presented the Plan of activities of the Network for the year 2017. At the end, this year's Political statement, adopted by the Political Committee, was presented to members of the Assembly.

The Roundtable on planning of sustainable urban mobility and visit to good practice examples

Aljaž Plevnik from Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia held interesting introducing presentation "What is SUMP and how it innovates planning". It explained how SUMP brings new way of thinking about solving of traffic problems and mobility, interdisciplinary approach and broadness. Cities with SUMP ensure better life quality and better response to needs of inhabitants of whole local community.

Further, Beno Mesarec from the University of Maribor and Aleš Klinc from the City of Maribor, presented Integrated transport strategy of the City of Maribor and how the City of Maribor, due to SUMP, became the city adjusted to pedestrians, and not automobiles.

Lively discussion emerged further. The question was posed if, during the creation of SUMP it should be waited for the creation of urbanistic plan. Plevnik responded that most cities unfortunately do not have the capacity to lead the two processes simultaneously. It was also emphasized that the created SUMP often is one of preconditions for application to different EU funds.

During the discussion the question of adjustment of programs on transport faculties with new ways of thinking about transport and mobilities was posed. Representatives of those faculties from Slovenia and Croatia stated that curriculas are being adjusted and that their students are familiar with new trends in the area of transport planning. Srđan Škunac reported about the idea of organizing of a Summer school which would deal with these new trends and would allow students of traffic engineering, architecture and spatial planning within the area of the Network to exchange experiences.

During the field trip we saw that one of the most busy squares of Maribor (Leon Štukelj Square) was closed for automobile traffic and turned into pedestrian zone and space for citizen gathering. We also visited Mobility Center Maribor, established within the EU project "TRAMOB - Trajnostna mobilnost v Mariboru" (eng. "Sustainable Mobility in Maribor). We also had a chance to see a place in front of the railway station, which used to be intended for parking of automobiles and taxis, and is now refitted as square with PARK&RIDE system. For 15 € per year, one can leave bicycle in the garage, if one combines train and bicycle while commuting.

In the immediate vicinity of Maribor,  Pohorje - one of the biggest Slovenian skiing resorts, is situated.  What is interesting is that it can also be reached by public transport. Bus line 6 of public city transport Marprom drives from the center of the City directly to the Pohorje funicular.

Photo-gallery from the event can be viewed HERE.

* More about the activities of the CIVINET network is available on http://civinet-slohr.eu