Gabriela Firea, who was sworn in as Bucharest Mayor on June 23, has stated that a monthly rent of EUR 280,000 is being paid for the current headquarters of the institution she leads. This is why the new mayor wants the City Hall to move back to its previous headquarters building, currently under renovation.
“This is a controversial issue. We have to move next to Cismigiu [Park], in the old headquarters building, which is still under renovation. It will probably happen in September. We are paying a monthly rent of EUR 280,000 for the current headquarters. We also have large arrears, because the rent went unpaid for several months,” Firea said. She explained that when the lease contract was signed it was decided that the sum would represent down-payment for a possible purchase, but the new owner does not recognise that agreement.
“Now, there is another owner and it’s a commercial bank that does not recognise this agreement. So we are now engaged in a lawsuit with the bank and let’s see what happens,” Gabriela Firea pointed out.
“I proposed a coordinated programme for repairs”
The new Mayor seems eager to start working. After she was sworn in, she made numerous statements about her immediate intentions at the helm of Bucharest. Thus, she also wants to solve some of the vast problem concerning the lack of parking places in Bucharest.
“There are plots left unused, maybe some filling up with garbage or things improper for a civilised city, plots that are owned by both the Local Councils and the Bucharest Municipal Council. All these plots will be used for parking lots,” Gabriela Firea stated at the end of her meeting with Bucharest’s District Mayors on Monday.
Another issue tackled at the meeting was the one concerning repairs. “I proposed a coordinated programme for repairs, so that when interventions are made on the public domain, parks, playgrounds, green areas would no longer be affected by multiple works carried out by utility companies (ApaNova, Enel, Distrigaz etc.),” Firea said.
In what concerns the pest control programme, she said that although it has to be urgently implemented throughout Bucharest, the tender is currently blocked. The Mayor gave assurances that she has taken “the necessary measures for a simplified procedure.”
Smart traffic lights programme in the works
Referring to public lighting, the Bucharest Mayor pointed out that she will ask Luxten, the operator of the public lighting service in Bucharest, to appoint a representative for each Bucharest District in order to address emergencies in real time.
In what concerns an efficient waste collection service, the Bucharest Mayor stated:
“I have agreed with the [district] mayors that a coherent programme is needed for this service, so that the cars that clean up boulevards or collect household waste should have clear working hours, should not hinder traffic, especially at rush hours.”
In what concerns traffic congestion, a first measure agreed today is the start of a smart traffic light programme that would address traffic congestion particularly in large intersections in Bucharest.
Firea wants Amzei Market back to being what it once was
Gabriela Firea announced that as Bucharest Mayor she will support district mayors in urgently resolving the problems they identified during their working meeting:
“We have also identified several precise problems we can jointly solve. And I’m talking about Amzei Market, which today is not, unfortunately, attractive for farmers because of the very high rents. We have decided to propose to the General Council the substantial reduction of these rents, so that Bucharesters would get back this produce market located in central Bucharest,” Firea stated.
The Mayor added that the District 2 Mayor has asked “for us to get involved – and we will – in implementing urgent measures to accelerate works in the Iancu-Pantelimon area, works that have been tarrying for a very long time.”
In what concerns District 3, Firea said District 3 Mayor Negoita proposed – and she agreed – “to build protective flower boxes in the Dambovita River areas that lack a guardrail.”
The new Mayor also referred to the seemingly unending construction works on the Sudului Square underpass in District 4, however she did not present her solution.
“A problem in District 4 is the construction site at Sudului Squre, where works are registering delays and where we have to find detours in order to ease traffic,” Firea limited herself to saying.
In what concerns District 5, “the only Bucharest District in which waste collection was handled by the Bucharest City Hall,” Firea said that Mayor Florea has stated he will prioritise the budget so that this service would be once again handled by District 5.
In what concerns District 6, the Mayor said that the district mayor asked – and she agreed – for the Crangasi Park to come under the management of the district mayoralty. Likewise, Firea also asked for traffic to be decongested on the Iulia Maniu and Timisoara Boulevards.
Passengers will have to wait for air conditioning in all buses
Public transport was another problem tackled during the meeting, district mayors asking for a series of public transport lines to be improved. On the other hand, when it came to the complaints of numerous citizens dissatisfied with the lack of air conditioning in many buses, Firea seemed overwhelmed by the situation. The Bucharest Mayor pointed out that of the 1,000 buses present in Bucharest’s public transport fleet, only 700 are operational and only half of them have air conditioning. And although she asked for all of them to have air conditioning, RATB pointed out that a maximum of 60 air conditioning units can be fitted each month, at a significant cost of EUR 10,000 per bus. Firea has asked for cheaper solutions and pointed out that some of the buses that are not operational are fitted with air conditioning.
On Sunday evening, Gabriela Firea stated that she personally rode the bus and that “it is insupportable and inhuman to use older RATB buses that lack air conditioning.”
At the end of the meeting on Monday, the Bucharest Mayor promised that her meetings with district mayors will take place every week, which would not be difficult at all bearing in mind that PSD candidates won all district mayoralties in Bucharest in this month’s local elections.