The city of Graz aims to become one of Europe’s foremost cycling cities with the cycling masterplan “Radoffensive 2030”. Between now and 2030, the city plans to spend €100 million on 200km of new cycle paths, bicycle parking and complementary infrastructure. As a result, cycling will be increased as a modal percentage from 20 to 30%. Cycle Competence member verkehrplus is involved in the planning.
Together with city traffic councilor Elke Kahr (KPÖ), regional governor Hermann Schützenhofer (ÖVP) and regional traffic governor Anton Lang (SPÖ), Siegfried Nagl (ÖVP), mayor of Graz, presented the plan on the 19th of August. Financially, the masterplan involves the wider region of Graz and will be implemented widely outside of the city itself. The “Radoffensive 2030” to invest €100 million in the greater Graz area was announced by the city of Graz and the region of Styria in the autumn of 2019; now eight years remain for its implementation.
The brain behind the Masterplan is city planner and architect Stefan Benediks, who works actively both in Brussels and Graz. His office ‘Artgeneering’ is responsible for the overarching network and system planning, made up of six styrian traffic planners. In total, more than fifty experts were involved in the planning of the project, two of whom are Cycle Competence members. The planning elements of Graz city-center was created with the help of verkehrplus, with additional consulting and data provision coming from Bike Citizens.
Masterplan aims to provide cycling possibilities for all
In order to increase both cycle friendliness and the proportion of cyclists in traffic, a holistic approach has been chosen. In other words, the target audience for the masterplan is not limited to those who already cycle, but to everyone living in, working in or visiting Graz and the surrounding region. This is clear from the breadth of the researched demographic. Everyone should be given the chance to switch to or start using a bicycle and for this to be made possible, high quality infrastructure must be offered which caters for all.
The masterplan’s target audiences (Page 22):
Varieties of cycle infrastructure and their respective user groups (Page 23):
The value system which forms the basis of the masterplan has been conceptualized in four main points:
- A comprehensive approach, defined by high quality.
- Everyone, regardless of age is included in target demographics. There must be infrastructure provided for the most vulnerable road users.
- Planning of road space must be future-proof and tailored to demand.
- The perspective of the cyclist is key to planning.
Dutch-style quality criteria
The latest developments in international cycle infrastructure planning have offered the insights needed to create a catalogue of quality criteria and a clear network hierarchy for the city of Graz. Three spacial criteria (environmental integration of cycle infrastructure, experience of cyclists and socio-economic benefits of cycling) have recently been added to the existing five technical planning principles (cohesion, directness, comfort, attractiveness and safety). All these principles will now be used to create high quality, widely used, dutch-style infrastructure in Graz.
The design principles of the masterplan have been comprehensively collated in a catalogue of planned measures: cycle lane dimensions (oriented towards cargo bikes), network hierarchies, quality classifications, closure of gaps in the network with bike-priority roads and brightly coloured road markings. Going forward, all new and existing cycle routes (apart from mixed-use streets) will be made clearly visible with a blue-coloured cycle path.
Suggested colour design for cycle infrastructure (Page 69):
Example: checkered pattern / coloured junction crossing on a segregated cycle path.
Cycle paths without segregation will also be painted blue.
3 category network planning: ABC model
The Graz masterplan is setting new standards in network planning. Deciding factors in the ABC network planning model are total available street width, traffic speeds and junction priorities. These factors affect the planning decisions made depending on the setting: urban, peri-urban or rural. The prevailing principal in the “A-Network” is to separate cycle traffic from foot and car traffic with provision in densely populated urban spaces for shared-use streets and forms of mixed-use roads.
ABC Network hierarchies in various contexts (Page 55):
In an idealized example in Quality level 1 in the “A-Network”, there is, beside the roadway, a pavement of at least 2m, generous spaces for greenery and trees and space for a bi-directional cycle path of 4m width, all spaciously placed.
An idealized example of Quality level 1 in the “A-Network” (Page 57):
Safety through infrastructure
The aim in the “A-Network” is to provide a cycle lane with a width of 2m plus a separation zone of 50-75cm. This allows cyclists to safely overtake. A protected version of this cycle lane is also possible.
Cycle lanes flowing with car traffic (Page 99):
Another measure is the introduction of ‘superblocks’ and modal filters for motorized traffic calming. Without the need for large structural changes, urban spaces can be changed with traffic filters to improve the surrounding quality of cycling and living. Upgrades, following the Dutch best-practice of traffic lights and segregated cycle lanes at junctions is also a central element of the Cycle Competence model cycling city and is being included in such a masterplan for the first time.
Jürgen Sorger from verkehrplus describes the importance of such measures: “we must proactively rethink junctions: larger quantities of bicycles, and larger and faster bicycles such as family cargo bikes and e-bikes need more space at junctions and for parking! These are the ways in which the projected positive effects of the Graz “Radoffensive 2030” will be realized”.
Graz now has at its disposal a cycling masterplan full of the latest features of international cycle infrastructure planning. Building work on 22 sections of the masterplan’s main and secondary routes are ready to be started as soon as they are approved by the Road Agency. With enough ambition, Graz could indeed become one of Europe’s foremost cycling cities.
Comparison of the cycling network
A map of current structural cycle infrastructure (bike lanes and bike paths) in Graz and the surrounding area…
…and a map of the planned main and secondary routes of the masterplan. Expectations are high!
The masterplan in its entirety can be read in the Cycle Competence Knowledge-Database or on the website of the city of Graz: “Cycling masterplan “Radoffensive 2030”: Value systems, design basis, formal concepts, catalogue of measures, factsheets.” City of Graz, Region of Styria, Artgeneering (2021)