Çanakkale’s Bozcaada island on way to becoming car-free
The Bozcaada municipality now plans to ban vehicles on the island, excluding those that belong to locals due to excessive traffic created by many tourists who drive on the island in the summer.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Bozcaada Mayor Hakan Can Yılmaz said Turkey’s third biggest island, Bozcaada, was an important destination in the northern Aegean and the only district in Turkey without a village.
Stating that the island covers an area of 38 square kilometers, Yılmaz said the island has become one of the popular places in the northwestern province of Çanakkale as well as in Turkey.
“Tourism is gaining more importance for Bozcaada. But we know it has been an island of production for centuries; an island of grape and wine. Its natural beauties have always been protected. We have brought this to the forefront in the scale of our plans to develop Bozcaada and still protect it,” the mayor said.
Yılmaz complained that popular places in Turkey have been economically revived for some time but then abandoned. “We do not want to see that happen in Bozcaada. This is why we have taken steps to keep viniculture strong and natural life healthy here,” he added.
Yılmaz said they have been coping with terrible traffic in the summer months, causing trouble for both locals and visitors, so they have made plans to prevent it.
He said they initiated the process in 2015. “We have sought ways to welcome visitors without their cars. We initiated the work for it in 2015. Maritime transport is very important to us. The purpose was to enable people to leave the island at any time they wanted. This way, we ban traffic on the island at a certain spot. We accept the ones to the central [part of the island] if they have vessel reservations. We do not allow other [vehicles] to drive to the center.
Now, people can easily walk on the streets of Bozcaada. They do not spend the last day of their holiday in ferry queues,” added Yılmaz.
Yılmaz also said in order to prevent traffic they are working on creating a vehicle-free island.
“We should develop models to completely ban cars on the island. This problem will be solved when we organize a shuttle system and public transport really well. We want to do this with environmentally-friendly vehicles. As a start this year, we drove our guests from the port to their hotels with two eight-person capacity golf cars. The reaction was positive. In the next three years, we hope to strengthen our shuttle system with environmentally-friendly vehicles that reach every cove on the island,” Yılmaz said.