My name is Marina Kyriakou. I am an architect working in Nicosia, the capital city of the mediterranean island of Cyprus. After living for a few years in bicycle-friendly cities in France and the Netherlands, I returned to car-dominated Cyprus and I challenged myself not to use car as my daily commute. I bike to work and I use public transport for longer distances. During my master’s degree I researched the potential of bottom up cycling initiatives in Nicosia and gained a great understanding of the development of mobility planning in the island.
How would you describe your mission?
My mission is to contribute in making cycling a real transport option for Nicosians and to accelerate the process of introducing alternative modes for commuting in the car-centric capital.
What are the obstacles and challenges you’re facing in your city?
- The uncontrolled horizontal expansion of Nicosia resulted in a fragmented urban fabric with car-depended neighbourhoods. There is a lack of infrastructure as well as lack of political will and allocated budget for improving urban mobility. Influencing people’s mindset (both the citizens and the authorities) about cycling as a commuting option is one of the most challenging tasks.
What are your next steps now that you are the Bicycle Mayor?
My focus is on raising awareness on cycling safety, promoting bike2work schemes and building partnerships with key stakeholders.
What can other cities learn from your city?
Nicosia is a relatively small city but is suffocated by car traffic and pollution. Increasing the cycling levels of its urban centre could lead to a transformation of the city towards a human centered, pedestrian friendly city that matches the human scale and the local culture of the mediterranean capital.