Grundtvig VOCA Project

The “Volunteers of Cycling” Academy (VOCA) Project In July 2011 the Dublin Cycling Campaign was awarded a grant for a two year project with cycling advocacy groups from 10 other European cities. The aims of the project are to improve our knowledge and competences about high quality, bike-friendly infrastructure by studying real examples in various European cities as well as theoretical engineering and policy principles. At the end of the project the group will publish a catalogue of problems and best practices based on the research in the various cities. The other partner cities are: Seville (Spain), Nicosia (Cyprus), Vienna (Austria), Copenhagen (Denmark), Maribor (Slovenia), Prague (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary), Warsaw (Poland), Lisbon (Portugal) and Bucharest (Romania).

So far there have been seven meetings:

  • Seville, September 2011
  • Nicosia, February 2012
  • Vienna, April 2012
  • Dublin June 2012
  • Copenhagen August 2912
  • Maribor October 2012
  • Prague November 2012

the first VOCA meeting for 2013 is in Lisbon in February. Each will concentrate on particular themes and methods. It is an opportunity for YOU to think about taking part, building your knowledge of cycling activism and also meeting new European friends in a convivial social atmosphere of learning and sharing. These visits are part funded by the EU, so you will not have to pay the full costs. So, if you wish to learn more about cycling activism, and contribute to the future growth of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, why not think about signing up!? Contact Muireann O’Dea, Chairperson, at muireann.odea@gmail.com

All of the VOCA presentations and reports are available on the VOCA wiki.

VOCA Meeting in Dublin, June 2012 In June 19 people from 10 European cities came to Dublin on a 4-day study visit as part of the VOCA project.
Despite several downpours the group did two long cycle tours and lots of incidental cycling from their base at the Marino Conference centre to various parts of the city centre. On the Saturday the group cycled from Marino, along the coast road at Clontarf, onto Bull Island, along the beach, through St Anne’s Park to Raheny, taking in the Raheny festival and then on to Howth where they explored both piers, then back along the coast road. On the Sunday the group took part in the Bike Week Green Loop cycle, which is a new 42Km cycle route, mostly off-road from the Phoenix Park, along the Grand Canal, through Griffin Valley Park to Lucan, along the Royal Canal Way back the Phoenix Park. Some of the group also went to Westport after the meeting and did the Greenway cycle, of which they spoke highly. In general the group were very complimentary about cycling in Dublin and they said it compares favourably to Warsaw, Budapest, Lisbon and Bucharest. During the Dublin VOCA meeting we held a conference on “Growing Cycling Participation and Closing the Gender Gap”. This was opened by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Dr Leo Varadker.

All of the presentations are available here: http://www.dublincycling.ie/conference2012. A range of Irish and international speakers discussed why in many countries less women cycle than men, and what are the ways to increase the number of women and girls cycling.

Seville Meeting September 2011 The VOCA project kicked off with a meeting in Seville in September 2011. The Dublin Cycling Campaign was represented by Muireann O’Dea and Anne Bedos from Rothar (www.rothar.ie). They met representatives from 11 European cities and shared information on cycling in the different cities.

They also got to see how Seville has transformed itself into a cycling friendly city in a very short period of time. The number of people cycling each day has jumped from 6,600 in 2006 to 68,000 in 2009 and cyclists now represent 7% modal share.

The total cost of these cycling measures was €32 million. Seville is now a very cycling friendly city. The reduced traffic in the city centre makes it very pleasant to cycle around the narrow streets. And there are wide two-way cycle paths along the river.

The lessons from Seville are to make an integrated cycling network and to build it quickly; to design for ages 8 to 80 and to have a unified design. At the same time as building an extensive network of cycle lanes, Seville also introduced a public bike scheme and bike hire at major bus stations. There are many similarities between Seville and Dublin – both cities have a medieval centre with narrow streets, and both have a major river running through the city. In Seville they removed many car parking spaces in the city centre, and turned former car parks into public plazas. They also built two way cycle lanes along the river.

The meeting in Seville was a great start to the project. It showed how measures that benefit cyclists also make a city more pleasant for pedestrians and a much more pleasant place to live.

The VOCA project is funded under the EU Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme.