The Slovenia Times

Air quality in Ljubljana improving, cycling on the rise


Contributing the most to air quality, however, was the development of the city's heating system, Jazbinšek Seršen said.

In 2015, 74% of the population used the system and the goal is to raise this share to 80% by 2024.

In recent years, the concentration of PM10 particles dropped significantly. In 2006, the daily PM10 statutory limit was exceeded 155 times in the Ljubljana city centre, while last year it was exceeded only 51 times, during the heating season.

The main source of PM10 particles are individual furnaces, including those in neighbouring municipalities, as well as fireplaces, which are becoming increasingly popular again.

Another emerging problem is nitrogen oxide, whose level has been rising not only in Ljubljana, but in other European cities as well. Jazbinšek Seršen said the reasons for the increase had not been officially confirmed yet, but experts suspect diesel vehicles.

Ljubljana has been expanding its heating and gas supply networks, and replacing coal with gas. In renovating public buildings, it strives for energy efficiency.

The city is also introducing various measures to discourage the use of small furnaces.

The capital is also encouraging alternatives to cars. By 2020, it would like people to conduct 35% of their journeys on foot, 16% by bicycle, 16% using public transport and 33% by car. "We have already reached the target share for going on foot," said Vita Kontić, another municipal official.

In 2013, about 11% of routes in the capital were made by bicycle and the goal of 16% has probably already been reached, but "we need a survey to confirm this," Kontić added.

Counters on seven locations around the city recorded 3.81 million bike rides in 2016, and 3.74 million in 2017.

Ljubljana boasts 260 kilometres of cycling routes and more than 10,000 bicycle stands. Cycling is also possible on more than 10 hectares of surfaces for pedestrians in the city centre.

The bicycle renting system BicikeLJ also gave a big boost to the cycling culture in the city. The system is expected to get 20 new stations soon.

Currently, it has 59 stations for the 590 bikes available for rent. Since May 2011, more than six million rides were recorded. The system has some 33,500 annual subscribers and a total of 131,000 users.

"Ljubljana boasts the highest number of bike rentals per number of inhabitants in the world," Kontić said.

In 2017, Ljubljana ranked eighth in the Copenhagenize Index of cyclist-friendliest cities in the world. The city eagerly awaits the new ranking to be released this year.


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