City of Zilina (Slovakia)
Zilina lies at an altitude of 342 metres above sea level and covers an area of 80.03 square kilometres. It is located in the valley of the Váh river, and surrounded by mountain ranges. The city of Žilina is the seat of the Žilina Self-Governing Region, one of eight regions of the Slovak Republic so it is a centre of significant political, cultural, sport and public health care institutions. Its economic potential can be proven by the fact that Žilina has (after Bratislava) the largest number of traders per thousand inhabitants. The City is not only a centre of car production, but together with the Upper Váh River Region (Horné Považie), it is an interesting tourist destination and a centre of theatres, museums, galleries, parks and sports facilities. Its historical part is crossed by one of the longest and the most beautiful pedestrian zones in Slovakia.
Actual state of accessibility-work
The accessibility-work of the city administration is more advanced in the area of construction of accessible buildings than in any other areas because of strong national regulations.
The city representatives clearly understand the need for the integration of disabled people into society and they are trying to facilitate them to take an active part in society and lead a normal life but there are many budget restrictions that make this process advance very slowly. So actually attention is paid primarily to low cost measures.
Collaboration already exists between representatives of several PRM and sustainable transport organisations and the city administration. A special phone help line was integrated into the city office and also several meetings of the Mayor and heads of the city department with PRM people take place on a regular basis.
There are several organisations that represent the interests of PRM groups in the city of Zilina. The most active is Chránené dielne Žilina - NGO focused on removing barriers of the city.
The town of Zilina implemented the ISEMOA method, in order to find out where the weak points in their accessibility work are, and in order to get inspiration for improving their accessibility work by best practices implemented abroad. The city representatives expected that ISEMOA will concentrate on solving the accessibility of places within the city with the greatest traffic flows (administrative, medical, educational centres, main places of free-time activities like City Hall, clinics, hospital, Chrast Forest Park, University of Zilina, etc.). They also felt the necessity of analysis of PRM needs and their behaviour.
During the ISEMOA-process the Zilina ISEMOA-team developed a range of measures that should be implemented to improve the city’s accessibility work. Among those measures are for example: synchronisation of public transport bus departures with train arrivals; increase in the number of connections; changing the position of the information panels according to PRM limitations; increase the number of benches along the paths connecting housing estates with hospitals, clinics, shops and supermarkets; purchase of low-floor buses (trolleybuses); increase the number of cycling routes in the city centre and in the town surroundings; build barrier-free access from Jan Pavol II. Square to the Post office N.8 situated on the first floor of a public building; barrier-free modification of crosswalks and adjustment to anti-slip surfaces; placement of tourist information maps with description of most important public buildings in different parts of the town; placement of signposts with street names and public buildings on the crossings; placement of maps with indication of PRM friendly routes; update town info-line with information about traffic lock-outs, temporary and permanent barriers; …
Quotes of local stakeholders
“I believe that the results of the ISEMOA project and proposed actions will contribute to the improvement of mobility in our city and our long-term cooperation with the University of Žilina will also contribute to higher levels of education and expertise of its graduates.” (Mayor of the City of Zilina)
“I appreciate a lot, the networking part of the ISEMOA-process. It is a good base for establishing continuous collaboration between PRM and city representatives.” (Representative of cyclist NGO)