We designed a safe cycling path which connects 29 high schools in Historical Peninsula of Istambul to encourage the use of bikes which is desperately needed in our city.
İstanbul is the most famous and crowded city of Turkey. Besides being like a bridge betweeen Asia and Europe and its historical backround, İstanbul is famous with its traffic problem. Travelling in İstanbul where almost 20 million people live, costs so much time and sometimes to turn into an adventure that effects people psychologically.Turning into a disastrous adventure, travelling in İstanbul, where almost 20 million people live, takes so much time and harms people psychologically. We as students have so much trouble in traffic. Crowds, costs, pollution, lack of physical activity are the troubles that we deal with on our way to school. As a solution to all these problem of ours, we are aware that the best alternative is cycling. For all of these we came up with the idea of designing a safe cycling path and encourage it which is desperately needed in our city.
There are many kinds of benefits of cycling. We will denote these benefits in five titles that are; traffic, health, environment, social and economic advantages.
1 - Traffic: If we could put in practice our bike lane network, it could decrease the number of the cars in traffic and this would reduce the immensity of the traffic.
2 - Health: According to the data of the WHO (World Health Organization) and TSI (Turkish Statistical Institute), Turkey is in the first three countries within Egypt and Mexico that are fatten fastest in the world. In addition to that, three of each four people don’t have enough physical activity in Turkey. Doing exercise decreases the illnesses which cause early death so our project is promoting young people for performing the exercise.
3 - Environment: Each year, just because of traffic jams 11 billion liters of oil is being wasted in all over the world while İstanbul is the worldwide famous with its traffic jam. The citizens of İstanbul are adversely affected by the respectable amount of wasted oil spread out into the atmosphere. Increasing the number of the cycle riders in this city can decrease the quantity of the wasted oil.
4 - Social: This project have a lot of benefits in social manner. For example, it can be useful to improve quality of daily life. Since a bicycle is more flexible and sociable transport than an automobile, it can be helpful to increase urban life experience. Besides, riding bicycles can cause new friendly relations between people an this contributes to the urban peace.
5 - Economics: There are economical benefits of the cycling. Foremost of all, the cost of built bicycle lane and park is less than for the autos. The cycle lane that we offered is covered the historical places in İstanbul so it can improve the cycle tourism in our metropolis.
Our school Atatürk Çağdaş Yaşam Muti-Program Vocational High School is located in the Historical Peninsula. As well as our school, there are 29 high schools in that district. In those high schools 1500 teachers work and 25000 students get education. We wanted to solve our problems by designing a cycling path which connects 29 high schools in Historical Peninsula. The primary reason why we design that cycling path was the results of our online questionnaire. In our questionnaire there were 7 questions about cycling and the other transportations. 58% of the participants indicated that they are not content with the existing ways of transportation. 84% of the participants stated that they would prefer cycling if there were a safe path for it. 81% of them stated that there should be more paths to increase the use of bicycles as a means of transportation.
With the conclusions of our questionnaire, we started that project of designing a cycling path. Total length of the path that we suggest is 50 kilometres. It can be integrated with all public transportation system. It can also be so practical due to covering historical structures, big hospitals, campuses of universities and many important public buildings. It takes five minutes to reach the bicycle lane from each high school by bike. Disabled people who need to move on constant speed, can use bicycle lane.We consider for the bicycle lane must be student focused. The reason of why were we making high schools focused is according to the Turkish laws bicycles riders in traffic must be older than 11 years old.We preferred the ways that are already used by bike riders while designing our bicycle lane network. Fort hat reason we used the heatmap of the Strava application.
We pursued two different routes to make our project real. We can summarize these efforts by encourage local administrations, governmental and non-governmental organizations and taking the support of the public.
1 - We shared our project with the UKOME (Transportation Coordination Center) which works with the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality for regulating and providing smoothly transportation. We told our plans about the bicycle lanes for the Historical Peninsula to the assistant manager, Murat Baştor. He told that they were interested in our project and there were many consistencies between our plans and their future plans.
2 - We also shared our project with the Fatih Municipality. We claimed bicycle park for our school and the other schools in the Historical Peninsula. In this context they built a bike park for ten bicycles in our schoolyard.
3 - We sent our project to the governmental organizations that work on sportive activities, to the non-governmental organizations which work on health, environment and cycling. Some of them helped us.
4 - We started a signature campaign on change.org and almost 3500 people signed our campaign.
5 - We designed posters to increase the interest on our project and bicycle transportation. We made presentations and distributed our posters in the schools of Historical Peninsula so we could access to the students who are the main target of our project.
6 - We created a YouTube channel (Bisiklet Yolu Projesi) and published videos about benefits of transportation by bike and our bicycle lane project. We created a blog page for telling our story.
7 - Our project was reported in one of the biggest national broadcasting news channels CNN Türk and was published in a national publishing newspaper Akşam.
The Cycling Pathway Project, that we offered for being “a part of the solution” to İstanbul’s transportation problems which we witness every day and suffer from most of our daily life, is a project to be put into practice with quite a reasonable cost thanks to its great advantages and public benefits. As responsible citizens, we will feel so much elated, proud and successful when we see even a slight increase in the number of people who ride bikes by our efforts for popularizing bicycle transportation.