The Magistrala in the city center of Prague should be more cyclist-friendly

Publikováno: 24. května. 2023, 6 min. čtení
Úvodní foto: FB Adam Scheinherr
Publikováno: 24. května. 2023, 6 min. čtení
Úvodní foto: FB Adam Scheinherr

Prague will begin preparing modifications to the Magistrala [the main road through the city center – red.] in the section between Hlávka Bridge and the main train station in collaboration with architects. A working group will also be established for this purpose. This week, the city council, together with architectural studios specializing in short-term and long-term changes, approved the plans. The municipality’s plans near the main train station include narrowing the road and creating a pedestrian crossing. Changes between Hlávka Bridge and Bulhar will involve improving road accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists and creating rental store spaces under the viaduct.

The first document approved this week proposes a solution for the area in front of the main train station in connection with the planned reconstruction of its new passenger terminal, which is being prepared by the Railway Administration (SŽ). The study was conducted by the Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) and suggests narrowing the road at the station to two lanes in each direction and building a pedestrian/bicycle crossing. The city will submit the proposal to SŽ for use in the preparation of the terminal reconstruction project, which is located under the highway.

Representatives of the city suggest that the surroundings of the main train station should be the first to undergo modifications, while the municipality also intends to prepare modifications for another section of the highway from Bulhar to Hlávka Bridge. This is being addressed by a study conducted by Swiss architects from agps architecture studio. „In the foreseeable future, relatively easy methods could result in modifications to the Magistrala so that cultural or commercial spaces could be located underneath it, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to move along it,“ said Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (STAN) yesterday. He added that he aims to prepare the modification project during this electoral term.

The mid-term measures of the study include reducing the number or width of traffic lanes and expanding sidewalks and cycle lanes. According to the study, pedestrian movement could be immediately facilitated at least in the Florenc area, with access via existing stairs. Gradually, pedestrians should have the opportunity to move along sidewalks throughout the section from Těšnov ramps to Bulhar ramps, according to the architects. The proposal also includes connecting the ground level with the highway through new staircases.

„The spaces underneath the highway in the entire section from Těšnov to the Bulhar intersection have the potential to transform into meeting places and leisure areas,“ the study also states. For example, a café or bistro could be created under the highway near the tram turntable, and other commercial and cultural spaces could be located under the road. The architects drew inspiration from a study on the utilization of spaces along the Negrelli Viaduct’s arches, which was conducted four years ago but has not been implemented yet.

The latest document approved this week addresses the long-term plan for calming the main road, which is set to be implemented after the city successfully reduces car traffic in the center. The study was conducted by Dutch firms De Architekten Cie. and Lola Landscape architects, in collaboration with the M2AU studio in Brno. In the long-term perspective, the document proposes removing the viaduct in the Těšnov area and having the road run at ground level along the perimeter of the park.

During the previous electoral term, the municipal leadership commissioned a study on the „humanization“ of the highway from the office of Danish architect Jan Gehl. According to that study, the busy road should be transformed into a boulevard with crosswalks and public spaces, so as not to create a barrier within the city. The study sparked disputes, with critics arguing that the proposed measures would complicate car traffic.

As part of the corridor of the Prague Magistrala, the Prague system of citywide cycle paths is considering the implementation of a superior cycle route, known as the A4 cycle route. Further details regarding the specific routing of the cycling infrastructure are not yet known. Only preliminary visualizations from the respective studies have been released on social media by former Deputy Mayor for Transport, Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě). These visualizations showcase solutions such as cycle lanes as well as other protected cycling connections. More details will likely be presented by the current Deputy Mayor for Transport, Zdeněk Hřib (Piráti), during a panel discussion held today [23.5.2023 – red.] at the CAMP center in Prague.

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