Making connections in Sardinia’s Molentargius-Saline Regional Park
Sardinia’s Molentargius-Saline Regional Park, located in Cagliari Province, is a wetland of international significance. Thanks to new cycling paths, more people can now explore its many natural wonders.
" Now you can bike from the centre of Cagliari to reach the beach or the centre of Quartu Sant’Elena without using a motor vehicle – all while enjoying the spectacular scenery of the park as a backdrop. "
The EU-funded project built a five-kilometre cycle path to better connect the Molentargius-Saline Regional Park’s internal bicycle routes to existing and future paths located in the nearby cities of Cagliari, Quartu Sant’Elena, Quartucciu and Selargius. As a result, it is now easier than ever for citizens to cycle to the park to explore over 1 460 hectares of wetlands.
By providing alternative routes and travel options between Cagliari and Quartu, this project encourages the use of sustainable mobility – an essential element of protecting these wetlands. Furthermore, as the cycling paths cross several areas of particular natural value, they are helping to enhance park visitors and commuters’ overall enjoyment.
More paths and bikes
To help increase the park’s accessibility and promote sustainable transportation options, this ERDF-funded project built: a 3.8 km cycling path along the Via del Sale and Via is Arenas, two of the main roads connecting the park to neighbouring cities; an internal cycling path in the green area of South Quartu; two new bike-sharing stations, each housing 10 locked terminals; and a bike/pedestrian bridge located at the end of Via Palma, next to the existing Secchi bridge for vehicles.
In addition, the project purchased 15 electric Segways – personal transporters – as an ecological option for those visitors not wishing or unable to cycle.
This project is just one component of a larger-scale infrastructure project working to better connect the local communities and, in particular, the seafront, park and airport.
Within its first year of operation, over 8 000 people rented bikes in order to visit the park.
A haven for birds
Established in 1999, Molentargius-Saline Regional Park protects a wetland area which is important to a number of migrating and nesting birds. Being located close to the Mediterranean Sea, the area features both fresh- and salt-water reservoirs and was once mined for its heavy salt deposits.
Today, the park is home to over 230 bird species – including flamingos. it is appreciated for its wildness, particularly as it is surrounded by a heavily developed metropolitan area. Besides the new cycling paths, the park features very little infrastructure or facilities.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Cycling Paths in Molentargius-Saline Regional Park” is EUR 588 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 196 000 through the “Sardinia” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.