Half a year has passed since the municipal elections, and we are asking the transport councilors of Prague 1 to Prague 22 about their plans regarding cycling infrastructure. We continue with the city district of Prague 7, which has a population of 40,000 and includes Holešovice and Letná. Pavel Zelenka, the transport councilor representing Praha sobě [Prague for Ourselves], responds to our written inquiries.
Are there any plans in your city district for the construction of new cycle paths, marking of bicycle lanes, or legalization of contraflow bicycle traffic in oneway streets? Where?
Currently, we are examining the entire area of Holešovice east of Argentinská, where we aim to supplement the network of cycle contraflow lanes. Subsequently, we will focus on Letná, where the situation is noticeably more complex, with narrower streets and less bicycle-friendly surfaces.
There is ongoing reconstruction on Bubenské nábřeží, which, in addition to a cycle lane, will allow cyclists to ride on the sidewalk. With the opening of the Štvanice footbridge, we expect increased interest in passing through this location. From Strossmayerovo náměstí, it will be possible to travel along the river all the way to Karlín, completely separated from automobile traffic.
How is the preparation progressing for the yet unrealized sections of the waterfront cycle path A1, specifically from Stromovka to Troja Bridge, including the section through Holešovice Port and connecting to Bubenské nábřeží?
At the March Municipal Transport Committee meeting, the backbone cycle routes A1-A9 were included in the list of so-called priority projects. Therefore, I hope that the resolution will be confirmed by the City Council, and the projects will start being realized.
Where will the A1 cycle path be routed near the former tram bridgehead („Rámusák“)? Directly along the water or with a detour and unnecessary incline along the railway tracks?
After consultation with colleagues from territorial development, it appears that a dual route is optimal for this section. However, we request the reconstruction of the panel surface along the tracks and at least a gravel surface on the path along the water. Unfortunately, the optimal route around the water is too narrow for a backbone cycle path.
Furthermore, the construction of the Waterfront Park, located east of the railway bridge, is commencing, where another section of A1 will continue.
There is a reconstruction planned for Dukelských hrdinů Street. How will cycling be addressed there? Will people have a separate cycle path?
A separate cycle path would not fit throughout the entire stretch from Strossmayerovo náměstí to the Exhibition Grounds without sacrificing the planting strip for the avenue of trees. However, the entire street will undergo significant calming measures, which will make cycling in the bike lane safer. Additionally, we would like to explore the possibility of a parallel contraflow cycle route along Janovského Street, which will seamlessly connect to the area in front of the Exhibition Grounds thanks to the new Kladno railway viaduct.
When is the implementation planned?
According to current information from the Technical Road Administration (TSK) and Prague Public Transit Company (DPP), who are responsible for the reconstruction, implementation is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2024.
What type of bike lane is planned?
The bike lane is predominantly designed as a protected (shared) lane.
Is there a plan to install more bike racks on the streets?
We are considering it. Ideally, we would like to add dozens of bike racks in the 30 km/h zones near intersections, if we can successfully negotiate with the relevant authorities. And I believe we will succeed.
Will cargobike depots be expanded to Prague 7?
I would be very pleased with that. However, the city district does not have suitable land of its own, and we have not made progress at the Exhibition Grounds or in the Market Hall (for valid operational reasons, it simply isn’t feasible). But we have an ongoing project in the Bubny VRU area with a private owner. However, everything depends on the interest of distribution companies.
How else do you plan to improve cycling conditions in your city district?
In addition to the aforementioned contraflow cycle routes and bike racks, a significant improvement for cyclists and pedestrians will be the opening of a cycle path through the Bubny development area with an underpass/overpass beneath the railway tracks, which is expected to be implemented this year by the Railway Administration using funds from the City of Prague.
Which construction or change in the current electoral term will have the most positive impact on pedestrian and cycling transportation in your city district?
The reconstruction of Dukelských hrdinů Street, Bubenské nábřeží, the cycle path through Bubny, and Štvanická lávka. By the end of the electoral term, Prague 7 will be connected in all main axes with safe infrastructure.
Which foreign city serves as inspiration for you in terms of transportation?
As a user, I felt most comfortable in Tokyo because people there are extremely considerate towards each other on the streets (although paradoxically, it doesn’t apply to packed trains/subways). This is a quality that, if you don’t have it, you have to compensate for with complex regulations and restrictions. However, the pace of change in cities that weren’t doing so well just a few years ago is also inspiring—for example, Milan has made great progress. I try to draw inspiration from everywhere I visit. Sometimes I think I should bring not only ideas back with me, but also legislation, officials, and considerate residents.
Do you ever get around the city by bike? Why or why not?
Of course I ride a bike. I enjoy it, and it’s efficient. Thanks to that, I have personal experience, and I must say that there isn’t as heated an atmosphere between cyclists and drivers on the roads as some politicians might suggest. However, cycling is not my exclusive means of transportation. I walk a lot, especially in the city center, I use public transport, and I also drive a car.
Do you follow our magazine?
Yes, gladly. It is a source of quality information for me, which I utilize in my work.
Thank you for the interview.