As I'm writing these lines, we're in the middle of 2020's European Mobility Week - an awareness-raising campaign running since 2002 an which has never had a harder year than this one. After almost two decades of chasing record numbers of participating municipalities, the Covid-19 crisis risked to break this years edition's neck. Usually municipalities start preparing their local week in March, to have the bulk of the work done by July when summer holidays start. The nationwide lock down however made these months unavailable. So what was to expect from the Luxembourgish municipalities in 2020?
What impact did Covid-19 have on the participation numbers in Luxembourg?
The final participation numbers are not available at this moment, but it seems like more than half of the participants of 2019 are back, with model student Bissen at their helm, Mertzig a clear runner-up and still going strong, and Contern, Sanem and many others still in the game of raising awareness for sustainable, active mobility even in difficult situations. It shows that taking part in this European campaign is most certainly a matter of heart in the way that it is a campaign one falls in love with if one participates regularly and that it is a campaign that municipalities don't want to let go once the romance occurred - even if times get tough.
2020 was a hard year to become a Golden City.
You might be aware of the eligibility criteria to become one of the Golden Cities of European Mobility Week which are offering awareness-raising events, conferences, exhibitions during every single day between September 16th and September 22nd, closing one major road for the Car-Free Day and implementing one permanent measure that betters the life of users of sustainable mobility modes. You can participate in the European Mobility Week if you only do one of these things, but you will not be eligible for the Awards. Being a Golden City in 2020 was a particularly steep task which was undertaken only by two municipalities in Luxembourg this year: Mertzig and Bissen. Mertzig has been a Golden City for the second year in a row now, but Bissen is in their fifth year! This is the sort of commitment that makes a municipality stand out and repeatedly participating pushes the local authorities to invest themselves further and further into the theme of sustainable mobility. This eventually leads to better and better projects and of course to permanent measures that start accumulating and in the sum make a huge impact on the life of the inhabitants.
Collaborating with municipalities for the European Mobility Week fits EVERARD Consulting & Communication like a glove. The ideals this awareness raising campaign carries are very close to our own and the theme - sustainable and active mobility - are our area of expertise.
A renovated cycle path section that would make sense for a rerouting of the PC12
This year, EVERARD Consulting & Communication has had the honor to have been asked by the mayor and the College of Alderman of Bissen to help them develop a concept for an idea they had for a building set on a newly renovated cycle track in the village. It is set to be the permanent measure Bissen wants to inaugurate in 2021. The cycle path itself was renovated 4 years ago and presented during European Mobility Week 2016 as the permanent measure. And it is a beautiful one.
The municipality used major works that had to be undertaken to bring district heat to the administrative buildings of the village and renovated the old path the new piping was planned along into a shiny new cycle path. On that track sits an old railroad watch-house of the CFL, that was set to host the district heat connection in its cellar. The works are done, and Bissen ends up with a first class cycle path that connects to the PC12. The PC12 is a national cycle path that passes through Bissen, going through the Rue des Moulins. Cyclists then cross two crossroads to continue on their merry little way out of the village. It is the mayors dream and wish to get the national planners at the Ministry of Mobility and Infrastructure to rethink the route the PC12 takes and to integrate the new, renovated route section instead. Cyclists could be rerouted to a single crossroad that eventually would be organized by traffic lights. Later on, the bridge used by TrefilArbed might be liberated from rail traffic, permitting an even better crossroad-free route. Until then, there is no reason not to get moving into the right direction and start offering great service to commuters, passers-by, pedestrians and leisure-cyclists. In 2020, the renovated railroad watch-house came into the focus of interest of the local authorities.
Better the service offer to cyclists and pedestrians
After a first on-site meeting with the mayor, EVERARD Consulting & Communication were tasked to find a way to make the vision of a culinary pit-stop on the cycle path happen.
The project was right up our alley: EVERARD Consulting & Communication is always looking for missions that aim to build resilience, strengthen a transition or at least corroborate a plausible and verifiable sustainability approach.
This commission ticked the boxes: We had the liberty to conceptualize the approach the way we felt fit and the ultimate aim was to bolster the use of active mobility modes such as cycling and walking by offering a service that would lead to more traffic and better the daily life of those coming by. We are happy to say that, to this point in the project, we have not been led to a moment where we would have to put ourselves or our deeply rooted convictions into question.
Official presentation of the concept
Yesterday, on September 18th 2020, we were pleased to present our idea, the basic concept, to the public during a press-point held at the railroad watch-house itself. As part of our communicative approach, we offer consultancy and concrete help in preparing events like these. As external consultants we are ideally placed to coordinate those involved, structure the timeline, prepare the content and role-distribution of the speeches and prepare the press-release on the project. All this was done in close cooperation with the communication service of the municipality of Bissen. Under a glaring sun, the mayor David Viaggi and alderman Cindy Barros were joined by members of the municipal council to assist to the press-point.
A rework of the road signage around the cycle path
After a short introduction to the extensive program Bissen had put up for this year's European Mobility Week and which you can find here, new road signs were revealed that EVERARD Consulting & Communication had designed to show the way to the new bicycle repair station. In collaboration with the technical service of the municipality, the entirety of the road signage around the cycle path was reworked and put into place for the date of the inauguration.
The installation of a bicycle repair station
EVERARD Consulting & Communication organized and coordinated the installation of a bicycle repair station as well as a automatic vendor machine for bicycle inner tubes. The repair station was officially inaugurated by cutting the traditional ribbon.
The main challenge of the location also is its greatest strength
When we arrived at the watch-house, David Everard, founder and owner of EVERARD Consulting & Communication welcomed the guests and the press and presented the concept we developed.
The main challenge of the location also is its greatest strength: it is located outside of the village. This means that it is ideal for a more relaxed usage of the terrace in the evenings in a romantic setting and of course it is perfect to welcome cyclists that want to make a halt, have a drink and/or want to eat something. At the same time, the location is out of view for most of the time, so basically inhabitants will not be reminded of it's presence on a daily basis and is not accessible by car or bus. It is not the place a restaurant-owner would choose to start his business - there are only few walk-in customers and getting noticed will be hard.
Every project needs a name
First off, the place needed a name. We eventually chose Cyclo Croc' Bissen - a combination of the description of the main customer base "cyclists" and the onomatopoeia "croc'", directly referring to the pleasurable bite into a tasty snack.
We develop concepts from scratch, according to your needs and budgetary premises.
We took an out-of-the-box approach
The concept EVERARD Consulting & Communication developed for the Cyclo Croc' Bissen takes an out-of the box approach: We are going to attract customers by creating an artificial rarefaction. As no restaurant-starter would be tempted by the location as such, the municipality of Bissen is going to install a professional kitchen in the watch-house, buy the furniture and build a cold storage. Then the place will be converted into what we call a Pop-up Food-Hub - a place where young entrepreneurs can test their culinary concept during a number of months, find their marks, develop their procedures and get used to the kind of life they are striving for.
They will be supported by the municipality as they will have to pay a skeletal rent and can be assured that they can profit from the communication tools the municipality has to offer. There will be no investing in business capital, building a kitchen, buying furniture. All they will have to do is get their papers in order and start working. After six to eight months, they will be ready for their next step: get going with their very own restaurant or food-truck, or maybe, in the future use the network of Pop-Up Food-Hubs around the country?
Maybe your municipality has an unused infrastructure next to the cycling track that, after reading these lines, you think might be suited for our approach? Do not hesitate to contact us! We would love to help you implement the project.
Artificial rarefaction - a way to attract customers
Coming back to what we wrote earlier: artificial rarefaction. As we developed before, the location isn't ideal for a restaurant and you might, as an inhabitant of the village, not have it as top of list as we say. But what if you knew that there was a new restaurant, a new concept that just opened? What if you knew, that it was there only for a few months? You would probably be tempted to check it out, and if your expectations were met, you would go there again or even binge-order the hell out of the place before it was gone.
All good things have an end, and this end, you see it coming. This effect combined with the low fix costs should guarantee the possibility to make a living in the Cyclo Croc' Bissen.
A restaurant seated on a cycle path? Deliveries by cargo-bike of course!
To top it off, we proposed the acquiring of two cargo-bikes to enable the occupants of the Cyclo Croc' Bissen to deliver their dishes to the clients in Bissen and the neighboring municipalities.
If you want to know more about this captivating project, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be pleased to hear from you.
EVERARD Consulting & Communication was created to help municipalities in consulting for and/or developing attractive concepts in sustainability or in building resilience. Oftentimes our local authorities create great infrastructure or plan exciting new approaches to mobility - and in the process, communication is forgotten or underestimated. This is where we come in to help them getting the message through to their constituents. If you are a municipality or a city, do not hesitate to contact us for your project. We also create concepts for you if need be. It would be our pleasure to help you.
Owner and founder of
EVERARD Consulting & Communication