European Mobility Week: art, sport and awareness

17 September 2021

There are many municipalities in Europe that have launched ambitious initiatives to raise awareness about the negative consequences of irrational car use, and Valladolid, in Spain, is one of them.

The Chief Officer for Valladolid’s Mobility, Luis Vélez, presented in a video the initiatives of the week, emphasizing the objectives: “this year with a clear message about air quality and the need for more sustainable mobility.”

With the slogan “The street, the continuation of your home”, the city is determined to raise awareness about the benefits of using more sustainable modes such as public transport, cycling or walking and thus improve both public health and the environment.

A year of improvements

The mobility actions carried out in Valladolid in recent years contribute to creating a healthier and friendlier urban space, with measures to promote the use of sustainable modes, providing more urban space for pedestrians, cyclists and visitors. Although this year, due to the health crisis and the restrictions set by the health authorities, activities will be limited.

“The city of Valladolid has for years been committed to this improvement in mobility. We improved the quality of public transport, promoted cycling, reinforced the infrastructure and made it easier for citizens to use the bicycle more and more, be it to study or work. We also promoted walking,” explains the Chief Officer.

Several improvements were introduced in the public transport. The network and the service were extended, and new ecological vehicles were introduced. Through new technologies, the service was also made accessible to all. The city also invested in improving the bicycle network, as well as its facilities.

“Valladolid people walk a lot, but we want them to do it more. In recent years we have pedestrianised a good part of the city centre and we have gained space for pedestrians in the centre and in the neighbourhoods. Also in the surroundings of schools so that there is more safety in pedestrian movements,” said Vélez.

The city council even introduced new forms of vehicle use and ownership such as the launch of online car-pooling and car-sharing schemes, the promotion of clean vehicles, the introduction of charging points for electric vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

Luis Vélez pointed out that the European Mobility Week will be a good opportunity to put these messages at the centre and promote greater awareness among citizens about the need for more sustainable mobility: “I think we are on the right path,” he added.

Artistic mobility

This year’s Mobility Week in Valladolid will run until Saturday, September 25, when several workshops and activities related to mobility and gender issues will be organised.

Among other activities, it is worth highlighting: a photographic contest where participants must portray urban situations or landscapes related to the Valladolid public transport network; Gymkanas, a short stories contest about real or fictitious events; a painting contest related to sustainable mobility; visits to the Atmospheric Pollution Control Network station, and the Music in Movement, where local artists will play in buses.

The city of Valladolid

Bike Day

On the 19th there will be a day of leisure and family fun designed to promote the use of bicycles as an alternative to motorized vehicles, favouring the practise of healthy lifestyle habits and respect for the environment. To promote the use of this transportation, tickets for the municipal bicycle rental service will be raffled throughout the week.

But it is also a solidarity initiative, in which participants will be able to collaborate with their registration in the Health and Environment projects launched by the Valladolid Red Cross.

Valladolid Bike Day 2021. Image credit: Valladolid City Council

Car Free Day

The week will culminate on September 22 with the celebration of the Car Free Day, when private traffic will be closed for twelve hours in a perimeter of one million square meters that borders the city centre. Pedestrians, bicycles, public transportation, and electric vehicles will reclaim the streets.

Restricted area in orange. Image credit: Valladolid City Council

On Car Free Day, the city council organizes activities such as a bicycle ride and a day to raise awareness about everyday walks for the elderly, various activities related to the electric vehicle, as well as a campaign on “Health and Mobility”. The most remarkable event may be the “Urban Mobility Challenge”, which will begin on September 16 and will last a month.

In addition to this, tickets for the Valladolid urban bus network will have the symbolic price of 1 cent during Car Free Day.

European Mobility Week

The theme chosen by the European Commission for this year’s 2021 campaign is “Safe and Healthy with Sustainable Mobility” and the slogan of the campaign is “Move Sustainably. Stay Healthy”. The European Commission has wanted to focus on health, both physical and mental, linked to the ways of getting around in a sustainable way through our municipalities.

A total of 451 Spanish cities participate this year in campaigns or activities during this week. Among them, Bilbao, which won last year’s Road Safety Award.

Image credit: Valladolid City Council


Marta Buces Eurocities Writer