Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist, founder of Bloomberg LP and New York City Mayor from 2002-2013, is visiting Istanbul, Turkey from June 13-14, 2014, where he will take a walking tour of Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula.
A key program of Bloomberg’s foundation concentrates on road safety. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety program focuses on improving road safety laws and strengthening their enforcement by supporting six proven strategies for making roads safer. The program targets ten countries that account for half of the global fatalities caused from road traffic crashes: Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Bloomberg will be joined by senior representatives of WRI’s EMBARQ network and EMBARQ Turkey, including Holger Dalkmann, acting global director of cities and transport, World Resources Institute (WRI), and director, EMBARQ; Arzu Tekir, director of EMBARQ Turkey; and other members of the Global Road Safety Platform.
“Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula is one of the world’s great cultural treasures, and now it’s safer, cleaner, and more accessible for the millions of people who visit each year,” said Bloomberg. “Turkey has shown real leadership on road safety and sustainable transportation, and I’m glad to be working together to help improve public health and save lives.”
The Peninsula is the site of a long-term project that aims to increase safety and accessibility for the 2.5 million people who walk its streets daily. This initiative – spearheaded by EMBARQ Turkey, Gehl Architects, and Istanbul’s Fatih Municipality, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies – is one of the largest pedestrianization projects in the world as measured by the coverage area and population.
“Mr. Bloomberg has been a champion for safer and healthier cities from New York City all the way to Istanbul. Safe, attractive, and accessible public spaces are a vital component of more livable cities. Pedestrian-friendly streets improve quality of life through better public health, reduce traffic crashes, and less local air pollution,” said Tekir. “We found that 80 percent of people, including local businesses, are pleased with the improvements this project has brought to the Historic Peninsula. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, we look forward to working to improve the safety and quality of life for people in Istanbul.”
EMBARQ’s 150 experts work on-the-ground in five countries to expand sustainable mobility options by shifting urban design and transport infrastructure to serve people. Since its creation, EMBARQ has impacted nearly 5 billion trips, saved the lives of 1,435 people, cut 1 billion hours in travel time and reduced carbon emissions by 2.6 million tons.
“Michael R. Bloomberg has demonstrated bold leadership and vision that is creating more vibrant and healthy cities that improve the quality of life for millions of people in Istanbul and around the world,” said Dalkmann. “The EMBARQ network has a strong track record of developing transport solutions to make streets safer for people — and we are working to scale up innovative urban mobility models to many more cities.”
Learn more about pedestrianization of Istanbul and the benefits to people in EMBARQ Turkey’s report, “Istanbul: Public Spaces and Public Life” and stay tuned for the release of the latest “Current Assessment Report” on June 16, 2014.