Rapid growth in İzmir requires radical solutions
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım devoted most of his speech at the İzmir Chamber of Commerce on April 28 to issues of transportation.
Yıldırım is one of the people who know best how important İzmir is. It is an important city because it appeals to a huge geographical area. It is regarded as the hub of a region stretching from the northwestern province of Çanakkale to the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
Thus, the roads connecting İzmir to the country’s biggest metropolis, Istanbul, and the capital Ankara are of prime importance.
The construction of the highway, which will reduce the travel time between Istanbul and İzmir will be completed next year, which is great!
Every city on the highway route will benefit from it. The attractiveness of İzmir is not of a coincidence as the business world realizes very well.
The high speed train service between Ankara and İzmir will commence in 2020 at the latest, the prime minister has said. It is very important news but in my opinion a highway project investment should follow it.
İzmir Bay Crossing Project
Every place that is easily accessible develops and becomes bigger. However, it is important to manage that development in the right direction.
One of the points mentioned by the prime minister in his speech was traffic jams in İzmir.
All developments show the population of İzmir will rise over 7 million in the coming years. It means urban traffic will be heavier.
To be fair, with today’s infrastructure, İzmir cannot provide services to a population of 7 million.
That is why since the very beginning, I have been supporting the İzmir Bay Crossing Project, which involves a highway and a railway.
Some radical solutions are needed aside from retouching here and there as the city grows. Collaboration between the local and national governments is necessary because the municipality cannot afford an investment such as the İzmir Bay Crossing Project.
Yıldırım has been following this topic since his days in the office of the Transport Ministry. All feasibility studies have been completed and the environmental impact assessment reports have been issued. Now it is time to lodge the tenders.
The second belt line road project
“My love for serving İzmir will never end,” Yıldırım has said.
I suppose as a lawmaker elected in İzmir, who has later taken office as prime minister, he will continue his support for the city.
It would be a kind gesture to start this huge project as the last prime minister of the Turkish Republic, since the office will be abolished after the elections on June 24 to give way to a presidential system with executive powers.
I attribute importance to İzmir’s second belt line road project as much as I do for the İzmir Bay Crossing Project.
İzmir is expanding to the north with the growing districts of Ulukent, Menemen, Aliaga, Dikili and Çandarlı.
Urban transformation in these areas will gain speed.
After the port of Çandarlı starts to operate, the traffic in this area will be busier.
The current belt line road is not enough to fulfill traffic needs. Thus, a second belt line road is needed and it should be contracted without wasting time.
The festival in Urla
When we talk about İzmir, we need to highlight the tourism and service industries, gastronomy, and the digital world.
In diversifying tourism, we should not forget about the festivals.
The fame of the Alaçatı Herb Festival has already reached İzmir.
Currently, the International Urla Artichoke Festival, which is in its fourth year, is in the limelight. It has been a successful organization.
“Speeches and panel forums often do not attract attention in such festivals. Everyone wants to have fun. But almost everyone has attended the panel forums and workshops in Urla. That is something we witness very rarely,” my fellow colleagues from Ankara said after the festival.
They have a point, because it is İzmir and it is Urla.