Monitoring Findings: Bitola Cycling City

In the period February-June we implement the project for monitoring pre-election promises. Following our activities with the aim of encouraging green solutions and a sustainable community, we follow the topic of building bicycle infrastructure. Attached are the activities by month:

February: Survey of pre-election promises
The survey of pre-election promises was across the online airwaves following past media releases, and politicians’ statements and offered pre-election programs. Our main challenge was that the pre-election programs were withdrawn from the internet space, and in order to find relevant material, we contacted members of the parties who are in the city council. Regarding the pre-election programs, only that of the independent group Poinaku is publicly available, and in consultation with the parties, we received the programs of the two largest coalition blocs led by VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM.

March: Survey of municipal documents
The inclusion of the topic from the pre-election promise in existing official documents of the Municipality of Bitola (programs, strategies, etc.) was perceived. The survey was conducted electronically on official municipal channels such as the municipality’s website and social media posts. Web portals were also searched that conveyed certain information about the requested data on the subject of pre-election promises. A request for access to public information was also submitted. In addition to the past, existing documents for currently planned activities in 2023 were also investigated.

April: Meetings with municipal officials and councillors
Meetings and discussions were held with key municipal officials and employees in the Municipality of Bitola related to the topic of the pre-election promise. In particular, meetings were held with the Secretary of the Municipality, the Head of Local Economic Development, who is also responsible for the implementation of the bicycle path project, and a conversation with the Director of the Public Company for Urban Planning.

May: Survey and public info session for the cycling lanes project
Survey on the safety and use of the bicycle as a means of transportation and comparison of the findings of similar surveys that we did in 2015 and 2018. In order to share the attitude of the bicycle community, we have taken part at the Commission for Local Economic Development. A public info session was also held with the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders for the bicycle paths project in order to bring the latest information about the project to the public.

June: Dissemination of results with the public
Sharing the results with the public is through several focused announcements on social media, appearance on a regional television, live on a national television, a TV coverage from the public info session, thematic podcast, high school podcast, sharing infographics, sharing a printed brochure, and the plan is also to make cycling motivational stickers.

Findings / Results*:

  • The topic of bicycle infrastructure in Bitola has been identified as a priority and included in the latest Local Environmental Action Plan, but with missed deadlines. There is ongoing process for new LEAP.
  • Within the public forum of civil dialogue, citizens have identified the topic as one of the top four priorities.
  • For the current period, we have an announcement about the project through a statement and address of the Mayor and we have a confirmation of the same that they are actively working on finalizing the project documentation through public announcement via the Municipal web page and the conversations with the representatives from the Municipality with whom we met.
  • This is also confirmed through the inclusion of the development of project documentation for the specific project (reconstruction of sidewalks and construction of bicycle paths on General Vasko Karangelevski and Partizanska streets) in the public procurement plan 2023.
  • We also have confirmation through public information requests that the Municipality has had an approved traffic project since 2014 and that they are working on finalizing the project documentation for field activities on the mentioned two streets planned for this year.
  • Adopted changes to the program for local economic development, which also includes the project for bicycle paths.

*The links to all findings and documents are included only in the Macedonian version since they are available only in Macedonian language.

Read below to learn more about this project