On Thursday evening, the discussion “Visions for the future of Vilnius” was held at Martynas Mažvydas Library, with a number of candidates to Vilnius mayor presenting their ideas for the capital. They included incumbent Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, former Mayor Artūras Zuokas, Martynas Nagevičius of the Liberal Movement, Dainius Kreivys of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and electoral committee Piliečių jėga ir teisingumas representative Ramojus Girinskas.
In his talk, R. Šimašius focused on how he would seek to improve education quality in Vilnius and revitalise the city’s suburbs, also noting modernisation of the train station area and improving public transportation quality as other goals.
Meanwhile, R. Girinskas stated that if elected, he would focus on young families, transportation and residents’ supply of drinking water, with the aim being to provide two cubic meters of water to every home for free.
Conservative D. Kreivys also denoted transport and infrastructure as priorities, as well as seeking to improve healthcare and aiming to make Vilnius a centre of technology.
The Liberal Movement’s candidate M. Nagevičius described Vilnius as a multicultural city and a centre of gravity, something that should be capitalised on.
A. Zuokas emphasised on improving the city’s transport systems, as well as the state of education and healthcare, highlighting that of the 155 schools in the city, education quality is below the Lithuanian average in half.
Congestion problems to be solved by new public transport
A focal point of the discussion was issues with congestion and improving community in the city.
TS-LKD candidate D. Kreivys spoke in favour of establishing a tramway lines, albeit noting that the proposition would be put to a residents’ vote. The politician explained that establishing a tramway system would cost the city around 16 million euro.
R. Girinskas found the idea of a tramway to be antiquated, instead speaking for the construction of a monorail system, which would be preferable due to it not requiring extra space on roadways. The non-partisan candidate also noted that traffic in Vilnius should be regulated by a smart system, which could, if need be, divert traffic flows.
Incumbent city Mayor R. Šimašius recommended to start from more elementary steps, such as encouraging residents to go by foot, improving infrastructure related to pedestrian traffic. The politician also noted that the quality of the city’s public transport could do with improvement.
Meanwhile, A. Zuokas spoke in favour of the idea of making public transport in the city free of charge. At the same time, he noted that other measures to reduce congestion would be needed – constructing free parking lots, establishing carpooling services, expanding bike lanes.
M. Nagevičius of the Liberal Movement noted that improvements in transportation in the capital would depend on what investors would choose to support.