Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea would want the capital’s downtown streets to no longer be blocked by weekend events, no matter if they are cultural, entertainment, or sporting events.
Moreover, she said that she would officially communicate her decision to those who have approved such events.
“Just this weekend, the traffic in the capital was blocked and not because there were too many cars in traffic - as people went to the mountain, to the seaside, they went on holiday – but because there are many street events approved in downtown Bucharest, whether cultural, entertainment or sports, and this doesn’t happen in any European capital,” Firea said at local TV station Antena 3.
It is a good thing that events are being organized in Bucharest, but they shouldn’t be held in the central area, the mayor added.
“Yesterday, there was a line of cars between the Press House and the Government. I thought it was an accident; I tried to go faster to see what was happening. What do you think was going on? The Kiseleff Boulevard was blocked, there were some youth playing tennis - very few because it was very hot outside – and for those young people, it is very good that they were doing sports but it was not the case to do it on Kiseleff Blvd., all downtown was blocked, and people were upset,” Firea said.
She also referred to the concerts organized in Constitutiei Square, next to the House of the Parliament, which usually block the entire downtown.
The mayor also gave alternatives for these events. According to her, there are many unexploited areas or even vacant land where such events can be organized, the National Arena, Romexpo, and the parks being good places.
On the other hand, Clotilde Armand, the French businesswoman who ran for District 1 mayor but lost the race to social democrat Daniel Tudorache, said in a Facebook post that “Gabriela Firea’s intention to ban the organization of cultural and sporting events on the streets of Bucharest is intended as a blow to the cultural life of the city, and even to the capital’s residents.”
According to her, it is not enough that the Bucharesters live in one of the most polluted European capitals and don’t have enough green spaces, the mayor now wants to also “punish them extra by denying them access to street cultural and sporting events that give charm to the city life and are a sign of normality.”
In her opinion, it’s not the events that are blocking the Bucharest traffic, but the lack of parking at the entrance to the city, the lack of a ring road, and the absence of a functional traffic management system.
She also recommends the mayor to start the construction of a multi-purpose hall in Bucharest or a modern tennis arena, “because it is inadmissible that a capital like Bucharest doesn’t have such a modern building yet, thus losing the organization of large sporting events such as the Tennis Open in Bucharest, which the organizers will move to Budapest.”
Culture minister Corina Suteu also announced on Facebook that she would invite the mayor to organize a meeting to discuss this problem.
"I believe that cultural street events are essential to bringing people closer to their own city, and encouraging this type of events has positive effects on the city life and its inhabitants. [...] Traffic jams are not the effect of these street events, but are rather the effect of unresolved issues in urban planning," the minister wrote on Facebook.
Bucharest hosts many street events over the year, some of the most important being Street Delivery, Women on Matasari, the Bucharest marathon and half marathon, and the large concerts organized in Constitutiei Square. For example, The Ultimate Thriller – The Michael Jackson Tribute – LIVE show will start its world tour from Bucharest’s Constitutiei Square on July 7. Muse, Iron Maiden and Rihanna will also play in the square this summer. Find a list of large concerts and festivals in Bucharest and other large cities here.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]