The Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) has proposed that current traffic rules barring private cars from Budapest’s landmark Chain Bridge should be kept, BKK head Katalin Walter told a press conference on Tuesday.
The ban was introduced for a trial period after the bridge’s reconstruction, and BKK has concluded that it should be made permanent, Walter said. Since December last year, vehicles of public transport, taxis, motorbikes and bicycles have been using the bridge, while pedestrians will be allowed to cross when the reconstruction is fully completed. At the press conference, Samu Balogh, the cabinet chief of the mayor, noted that the final decision will be made “at the first residents’ meeting” of the city.
Providing figures of an analysis of traffic since the partial reopening of the bridge in mid-December last year, Adam Bodor, BKK’s mobility development director, noted a 54 percent drop in travel time for buses to cross the bridge from the Pest side to the Buda side during peak hours. Bodor said current traffic rules have attracted cyclers to use the bridge more frequently, with their numbers doubling to 1,958 per day in April compared with 2019. “As a result of this new model, the city’s carbon dioxide emissions have dropped by 29 tonnes per day,” said Bodor, adding that emissions in the area around the bridge had dropped by one tonne per day.
Responding to the proposal, Zsolt Wintermantel, the party group leader in the Budapest city assembly, called the municipality’s message about the pending state funding for the works “a political charade”. In a video posted by Fidesz on Facebook, Wintermantel cited a provision from a 2020 municipal decree signed by Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony which states that Chain Bridge must be reopened to car traffic as soon as possible. “By upholding the ban, the mayor himself has broken the pact and, as a result, prevents the city of Budapest from receiving the 6 billion forints (EUR 16m) in state subsidy,” the ruling party said.
LMP to turn to top court over govt decree on public hearings
Opposition LMP will turn to the Constitutional Court over a recent government decree on public hearings which the party says violates the constitutional right of citizens to express their opinion, a lawmaker of the party said on Tuesday. At a press conference, deputy group leader Antal Csardi noted the decree published on April 27 which states that a public hearing can be conducted during a public administrative procedure without the actual presence of the affected members of the public.
Csardi called the decree “absurd”, saying that with its approval, the Fidesz-led government “has created a system that hushes up the public”. He said that with its earlier measure that “practically bans” a national referendum, Fidesz had already left little room for the Hungarian people to have a say in in social affairs. The new decree makes any public hearing impossible, which means that the people will have no opportunity at all to give their opinion or ask questions on such important issues as the construction of battery plants, Csardi said. He said that the government was afraid to hear the opinion of Hungarian people because it had “things to hide” from them, adding that these included “the immeasurable threat to the environment” of battery plants.