Belgrade’s cycling activists and enthusiasts have managed to negotiate a compromise with the city authorities to get a more accommodating diversion through the construction works on the city’s Sava riverbank.
The saga started last month when the city authorities closed off part of the extremely popular riverside cycle-path in order to renovate it in preparation for the Belgrade Waterfront megaproject. Cycling activists immediately reacted angrily to this move by the city and protested in front of the construction site. “They thought they could close the path during the summer season, when its most popular, without anyone noticing,” one cycling enthusiast told Living in Belgrade.
Initial plans were to divert cyclists across the Sava bridges into New Belgrade on their journey to and from Ada Ciganlija – a diversion of more than 3.5 kilometres that relies exclusively on seldom reliable cycle lifts. The protests soon bore fruit as Belgrade’s mayor, Siniša Mali, was forced to give assurances that the rejuvenation would also include returning the city’s most picturesque.
These assurances were not deemed sufficient and a heated battle broke out on social media. The city was forced to retreat further and open an alternative route that would allow cyclists to stay on the Old Town side of the river and still get to Ada safely.
The city’s chief architect, Milutin Folić, told journalists that the new route would take cyclists through the construction site instead.
“The cycle-path goes through Karađorđeva to the Branko Bridge, where it runs through Braće Krsmanović Street and Mostar Street to the construction site in Hercegovačka. From there it runs in a controlled manner through the construction site, the contractors will leave a corridor through the site, the route of which will change.” Folić told journalists.