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Moscow cyclists are getting new bike paths. Do Muscovites get a say?

Moscow cyclists are getting new bike paths. Do Muscovites get a say?

Few descriptions of Moscow, even by admirers, have ever called this huge, overpowering metropolis “user-friendly.” Its efficient but crowded metro and choking traffic streams move…

Monday, May 03

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Few descriptions of Moscow, even by admirers, have ever called this huge, overpowering metropolis “user-friendly.”

Its efficient but crowded metro and choking traffic streams move its 12 million inhabitants every day, but somehow make getting from place to place an exhausting and demoralizing effort.

But all that has been rapidly changing over the past decade, as an activist mayor backed by a professional bureaucracy has channeled the city’s resources into huge public works programs . Why We Wrote This

Moscow’s efforts to fix the city’s terrible traffic highlight the priorities of a new generation of Russian bureaucrats – and the lack of input from any other Muscovites.

And lately the city’s urban planners have put on their green caps, replacing many of Moscow’s creaking old buses with brand new, Russian-made electric-powered ones , the largest such fleet in Europe. Their latest project is to construct a “ green ring ” of bicycle paths and hiking trails to connect the city’s giant parks, and also a network of bicycle lanes and parking areas throughout the city that will enable Muscovites to go to work, do their shopping or just get around by electric scooter or bicycle, much as people already do in modern European cities.

What makes this remarkable is that, unlike Western green programs, these initiatives are coming from the top, spawned by a largely unaccountable bureaucracy that faces little pressure from civil society or elected legislators.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin is an elected figure, but elections for the largely toothless city council in 2019 […]

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