A visualization of the Green Ring concept , Source: Cosmoscube Ltd via Sofiaplan

A 30 km long park and bike lane set to change how people live and move in Sofia

A 30 km long park and bike lane set to change how people live and move in Sofia

The Green Ring project aims to turn the more neglected parts of the city into integral hubs of sustainable mobility development

On 15 November the local authorities in Sofia unveiled their concept for a so-called “Green Ring” in the Bulgarian capital. The project calls for establishing a 30-kilometre-long park, snaking through the city’s residential areas that should connect neighbourhoods via pedestrian and bike lanes.

Legacy infrastructure

The Green Ring will make use of abandoned urban and industrial rail infrastructure that is used to connect the factories and heating plants in the city. Much of the land it plans to use is already part of public parks or dilapidated train infrastructure.

However, since the Bulgarian capital started a process of deindustrialisation around 30 years ago, some of that former rail system has given way to residential buildings or spacious boulevards. City authorities plan to compensate those areas with modern cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, like overpasses.

Green ring viualisationVisualisation of the Green Ring, planned overpass, Source: Cosmoscube Ltd via Sofiaplan

Additionally, according to an official statement by Sofiaplan, a municipal company responsible for strategic development, the planned cycling infrastructure in the Green Ring was adopted by the municipality as part of the overall cycling infrastructure concept for the city.

At the same time, authorities plan to start the development of this massive infrastructure project at an abandoned railway station known as “Pioneer” (Пионер), located in the biggest park in Sofia, Borisova Gradina with minimal intervention.

Bringing development to more neglected regions 

For later stages of development, regional authorities need to deal with procuring the land, and consultations with locals about what type of developments they need and want to see in their regions. This is because a principle point of the green ring is to make more neglected regions in the city attractive for investment and growth.

By all accounts, authorities in Sofia believe that this will be a long process, as different areas of the project are at different stages of development. For example, Sofia Plan has already made several feasibility studies, as well as concepts and benefits analyses, especially for the neighbourhood of Slatina.

Nevertheless, the project has the potential to give 250,000 people access to new green areas, as well as new modes of transportation. Furthermore, the project plans to reach at least 30 neighbourhoods and districts and transform mobility in the city.

Green RingA map overlay of the city and the planned Green Ring route, Source: Sofiaplan



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