News,

The crossing in Bucharova: the first automatic green light for bicycles in Prague

Publikováno: 21. července. 2023, 7 min. čtení
Úvodní foto: Jiří Motýl
Publikováno: 21. července. 2023, 7 min. čtení
Úvodní foto: Jiří Motýl

As part of the new entrance to Rozvadovská Spojka from the intersection with Nárožní Street, there was also an improvement to the previously criticized intersection of the cycle lane leading along Bucharová Street with the exit from Rozvadovská Spojka. This intersection now crosses the exit from Rozvadovská Spojka using a traffic light. It is likely the first traffic light in Prague where cyclists automatically and immediately receive a green light.

The entire construction was officially opened on Monday, July 10th. The reason for building the new entrance to Rozvadovská Spojka was to improve traffic at the intersection of Bucharova and Pekařská Streets, where queues used to form to turn left onto Rozvadovská Spojka from the Butovice direction, and the situation was often confusing, even in the direction of Motol.

The Technická správa komunikací (TSK) utilized a roughly three-hundred-meter section of Rozvadovská Spojka that had already been built in the past but was not yet in use, and completed a ramp approximately 160 meters long. Deputy Mayor for Transport Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) praised the entire project during today’s launch, noting that it took only about two years from the initial idea to the implementation. The project originated from a proposal by the Institute of Planning and Development of the City of Prague (IPR), which was pushed forward by the then Deputy Mayor for Transport Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě).

Deputy Mayor Hřib further stated that this is essentially a temporary measure because the entire intersection lies on the future route of the Radlice Radial Road. However, until the construction of the road takes place, the new entrance will significantly improve the situation for both cars and public transportation, added the Deputy Mayor. The Radlice Radial Road project has been in the territorial planning process for several years, and has been prolonged due to a large number of objections and appeals. The previous municipal administration decided on modifications to the construction, and the final form of these modifications is expected to be determined by the city council in the foreseeable future.

Previously criticized intersection in the new design

The intersection of Bucharová and Nárožní Streets is intended, according to Prague’s cycling plan, to serve as the route for main cycle paths A330 (connecting Nové Butovice with Motol and Břevnov) and A123 (linking Jinonice and Řeporyje). For this reason, in 2020, during the resurfacing of Bucharová Street from Nové Butovice Metro station to Pekařská Street, cycle lanes were marked on the street for the future A330 cycle route.

At that time, it was a non-structural solution (where it was not possible to make construction interventions, such as modifying curbs), and the intersection of the exit from Rozvadovská Spojka proved to be a challenging issue for the entire section of the cycle lanes. Before the implementation in 2020, several options were considered, and the one that appeared to be the least unfavorable was chosen.

This implementation sparked a wave of criticism. Newspaper headlines referred to the established cycle lane as a „route for daredevils.“ Prague 13 Mayor David Vodrážka (ODS) and current Mayor of Prague Bohuslav Svoboda (ODS) expressed critical opinions about it. Mayor Svoboda even stated in an interview with Czech Radio this spring that he would like to see the mentioned cycle lane completely removed by the end of the year.

Automatic detection with immediate green signal

The critical location was eventually improved through construction modifications, utilizing the construction of the new ramp to Rozvadovská Spojka. People approaching the redesigned intersection on Bucharová Street from Nové Butovice now cross it on the designated cycle lane.

The green light comes automatically and immediately

We have passed through the area. The new solution, with one additional traffic light compared to the previous state, does not cause any significant delays for cyclists. With the help of detection systems, the green light for them is activated almost immediately as they approach the intersection with the exit from Rozvadovská Spojka, eliminating the need to stop at the traffic light. This ensures a smooth and considerably safer passage compared to the previous state. There is also a button for requesting the green signal, but it is likely just a backup measure in case the detection system fails.

At the same time, this solution should not cause significant delays for drivers coming from Rozvadovská Spojka. According to municipal data, approximately 30 cyclists pass through this location daily during the season. Even with an increase in the number of cyclists due to the improved safety of the passage, it is not expected that the traffic flow will change dramatically enough to affect the smoothness of the traffic.

Summary

The new solution is a good example of how previous non-structural modifications can be gradually improved when other significant changes happen in a specific location. Moreover, the change for the better was realized relatively quickly in this case. An interesting feature of the current solution is the automatic detection of cyclists linked to immediate permission to pass through the cycle traffic light. This is a solution that we have seen mainly in foreign countries. It also serves as a good illustration of how well-designed and safer solutions do not necessarily result in slower traffic compared to riding in an environment without cycling infrastructure.

New cycling infrastructure in Prague

This article was published with the financial support of the City of Prague as part of the project „Cyclists for Prague“. The project aims to provide regular information about newly built cycling infrastructure in Prague.

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