Chișinău streets feel unsafe, say seven in ten road users with limited mobility
Seven out of ten Moldovans with limited mobility feel unsafe moving around the streets of Chișinău, according to a survey by the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), as part of the Equal Road Rights project in partnership with the Center for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CDPD) and Universal Access Ltd and Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) with the support of the FIA Foundation.
The new study, ‘Identifying the needs of people with limited mobility in the field of road safety in Chisinau’, examined movements in the Moldovan Capital for those living with disabilities, parents with children, and elderly people. The study was designed to build a picture of the current experiences moving around the city, allow users with limited mobility to identify and provide recommendations to improve city design and implement a number of improvements with the city authority.
Seven in ten respondents (72%) reported feeling at risk when crossing the city’s streets. One of the main issues identified was driver behaviour; almost half of the respondents (48%) expressed concerns about speeding, pedestrian awareness, and aggressive driving. Other factors impacting feelings of security included: insufficient crossings times; inaccessible underground passages; parked vehicles blocking sidewalks and ramps; poor sidewalk maintenance; and pedestrian obstacles. Other factors generating insecurity included short crossing times at pedestrian crossings, inaccessible underground passages; blocked sidewalks and ramps; poorly maintained sidewalks and lack of options like tactile pavements to aid those with limited visibility. Respondents also identified specific central streets, which posed significant mobility issues.
Respondents also had the opportunity to advocate for the types of changes they wanted to see to improve the city’s streets. Lowering curbs introducing ramps at pedestrian crossings were almost universally supported (95%), nine out of ten respondents (89%) supported the installation of sound traffic lights, while 67% proposed installing tactile pavement at the pedestrian crossings. In response to the study, project partners installed ten sound traffic lights systems on three major streets: Stefan cel Mare şi Sfânt Boulevard, Dacia Boulevard and Ismail Street.
The survey was carried out as part of the Equal Road Rights project implemented by the ACM in partnership with Universal Access LTD, CDPD and Chisinau City Hall, supported by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), FIA Foundation and EASST. Activities of the Equal Road Rights project include: road safety training; public awareness campaigns; and ongoing local authority engagement to improve pedestrian crossings with a particular focus on road users with low mobility.
Corrine Vibert, Director of Communications, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, and Inclusion of “The ACM has been leading the way for a number of years now to make Chisinau a safer and more accessible city for people with limited mobility. However, as the results of this survey show, more work is needed urgently. We are so proud of what the ACM has achieved so far, and we will do all we can to support them in taking this work forward and address the issues raised to make Chisinau safer and fully inclusive.”