Russian President Tackling Moscow's Traffic Problems
The new mayor promised to take action before he was sworn in last week. President Dmitry Medvedev says a "huge number of people" die on the city's roads "partly because of a poor traffic management system."
Moscow's new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev say solving the city's massive traffic jams is a top priority, with Medvedev on Thursday calling the problem a "viability test" for the federal government. Sobyanin had just been sworn in and spent part of his first day in the job surveying traffic jams from the roof of a 14-story building, the RIA Novosti news agency, Voice of Russia, and other Russian media reported. He said the answers are more parking places, developing public transport, and road construction.
"The main thing is to create normal comfortable living conditions for the people living in Moscow and to provide them with the comforts and services of a level matching that of other similar megalopolises," Medvedev said at a conference about the city's traffic problems. "I'm not even mentioning here one more headache -- the huge number of people dying on the roads, partly because of a poor traffic management system," he continued.
He said he will personally oversee the effort. "Although it is a regional problem, it needs to be dealt with by the federal government," said Medvedev. "It is a complex problem that needs to be tackled not just by the new mayor, not just by Sobyanin together with [Transport Minister Igor Levitin] or the Moscow region governor -- everyone should become involved."
Levitin will lead a coordination council to improve road infrastructure in Moscow and the surrounding region.