Kaladze’s Weekly Priorities: Transportation, Infrastructure, Keeping Tbilisi Beautiful

Each week, the municipal government of Tbilisi holds a meeting at City Hall. Preceding this week’s meetings, Mayor Kakha Kaladze remarked on several topics of interest.

First, Kaladze reiterated the new taxi registration procedures. In addition to continued availability online and at all 10 of Tbilisi’s district governments, taxi drivers will be able to go to the Justice House for assistance with the registration process. Kaladze thanked Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani for her cooperation.

"The easiest way to register is on a personal computer, without leaving home. However, the House of Justice is specially designated to assist citizens [with the registration process]. As of [Wednesday], at least 500 taxi permits have been issued. I would like to appeal to the applicants, since providing taxi services will be prohibited without the proper license starting October 1. Otherwise, they will be fined 200 GEL,” said the Mayor.

In parallel with the taxi registration process, Kaladze emphasized improvements in public transport. From September 15, the intervals between trains on the Tbilisi metro will be reduced to three minutes on average.

"We continue to work to add new wagons to the metro, to modernize it and reduce the wait to as little as two minutes. From September 15, passenger flow will increase further as people return to the capital from vacation. We should be ready for that,” said Kaladze.

So far in 2018, four new subcontractors have been added to metro projects, supporting the rehabilitation of individual sections of track, particularly those that required the trains to slow down. City Hall also plans to add new 12 train cars.

Also on the transportation front, City Hall has begun the procurement process for 220 new blue city buses. By the end of 2018, 90 new buses will have arrived in Tbilisi.

"As promised, by the end of 2019, a total of 550 new buses will be brought to the capital and the existing yellow buses will be fully replaced,” vowed Kaladze.

The various infrastructural projects of the summer were also discussed. Road works on the Kakheti Highway will be completed in the near future.

"On the Kakheti Highway, we have been reconstructing the road in three stages. The first stage of the works, which is currently underway, will be completed by the end of September. Now we are starting the full rehabilitation of the right-hand emergency lane, after which the third stage will start, which means the full rehabilitation of the central highway. Within the rehabilitation process, wastewater and drainage systems have been completely replaced, and curbs and sidewalks were arranged. It is already possible to walk freely on one section where the works will end in September. This project is strategic. Every visitor who arrives in our country passes this way to the capital. The situation on this road is not so pleasant, considering the conditions of the road and the surrounding areas,” Kaladze noted.

The Mayor then put Deputy Mayor Irakli Bendeliani in charge of developing the concept of pedestrian bridges, explaining, "I think we should gather architects to work on projects that are visually appealing, to make climbing up and down convenient. Today, it is impossible for people with disabilities to use these bridges, which is a serious problem, so we will soon develop a concept and visualization of what the bridges should be.”

Kaladze also dislikes the appearance of the advertisements across the bridges which span the entire width of the road. "I would like Bendeliani to work with businesses on this issue. Of course, we should not ignore business interests, but business should not be implemented at the expense of the city,” he said.

Kaladze then brought up Varaziskhevi – the stretch of cobblestoned road at the intersection between the Vera, Vake, and Saburtalo districts. "At present, the pavement there is very often damaged and poses a serious problem for underground communications. I'd like to ask if it is possible to pour modern, European-style asphalt instead of stones. We’re asking the local population for their ideas, too. I think that there is a lot of noise and dust, which, first of all, creates a problem for people living there,” said Kaladze. After the meeting, a poll was posted on City Hall’s Facebook page asking if people preferred to leave Varaziskhevi as is, or install an asphalt covering. As of Thursday morning, the poll had 11,100 votes with 52% in favor of no changes, and 48% in favor of asphalt. Kaladze stressed that Varaziskhevi is not protected by historical status and so it would be possible to renovate the street, expanding sidewalks and better regulating the underground communications infrastructure.

The Mayor announced that the Tbilisi Municipal Supervision Service has enforced regulations on up to 30 streets across the capital, in various marketplaces and trading areas.

"Last week, as a result of the work of the Supervision Service, the streets adjacent to Eliava [Market] were regulated and cleared from construction materials and tires. This was a serious problem for people living there, in terms of free movement and from an aesthetic point of view. This must be maintained, and in other areas, the territories adjacent to marketplaces should be organized in the same way. In the span of one week, as soon as I gave the order, the Supervision Service went to more than 30 streets and addressed violations such as were occurring near Eliava market,” Kaladze explained.

"We are not trying to make trouble for businesses, but it's all in line with the legislation. I would be very happy if we did not have to penalize citizens. I would like to address all the people who are engaged in this activity – under no circumstances should we do business at the expense of the appearance of the city. This is categorically unacceptable and is a problem for people living around and those who visit these territories. Everyone's interests should be preserved and protected. We support all types of legitimate economic activity, but it should happen without damaging the rights of others,” Kaladze insisted.

Closing his remarks, the Mayor congratulated Guranda Gabunia, Nana Jorjadze, Radish Tordia and Givi Shahnazzar on their birthdays and noted that they will be awarded for their special contributions to the development of Georgian culture.

By Samantha Guthrie

23 August 2018 19:02