Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj Defends Work on Rruga Durresit, Calls Concerns “Urban Legends”

Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj has said the concerns of citizens over the change of use of Rruga Durresit is an “urban legend”.

In an interview with News24 on Monday, Veliaj said that the traffic on the road has always been bad and that now the municipality is making an ‘innovation’ to see how it can improve it:

“Traffic in Tirana, especially on Rruga Durresit was bad. The definition of innovation is to try something else and try what it will be like. We enter from Durrës street, we exit from Mine Peza. This narrowing of roads is an urban legend. ”

Veliaj defended the return of Rruga Durresit from a road with four lanes of cars, to a road with 2 lanes of cars and 2 for bicycles and citizens, saying that the municipality has a duty to protect the interests of all: and those who use a bicycle and those who use a car.

“70% of citizens in Tirana have vehicles, 9% have bicycles. The latter also pay taxes. The pedestrian, the cyclist, the one with the car must be in proportion.”

In the end, Veliaj added that in Tirana the more roads he makes, the more vehicles will pass and the city needs more bicycles:

“The principle is the more roads you make, the more invitations you have to drive.”

As Exit News wrote earlier, the Municipality of Tirana has changed the function of Rruga Duresit, one of the main roads in the city. Out of four lanes for car traffic, now Rruga Durrësit has only two lanes for cars and two for bicycles and pedestrians, the same if not wider than car lanes. This has further aggravated traffic in the centre and irritated road users.

As can be seen in the photo, the choice of the municipality to make lanes for pedestrians and on the road is strange, as the road to Durrës has wide sidewalks for pedestrians on both sides.

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This intervention is in the continuation of some investments made by the Municipality that make traffic difficult in Tirana. City officials publicly say they want to discourage excessive use of cars in the city, but in the meantime have offered no real alternative to facilitate movement.