What are the city districts planning: Prague 1

Publikováno: 29. srpna. 2023, 25 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 27. srpna. 2023
Publikováno: 29. srpna. 2023, 25 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 27. srpna. 2023

It’s been almost a year since the municipal elections, and we are asking the council members responsible for transportation from Prague 1 to Prague 22 about their plans for cycling infrastructure. We continue with the Prague 1 district, which has nearly 20 thousand residents and covers Hradčany, Malá Strana, and the Old and New Town. Answering our questions is Vojtěch Ryvola, the council member for transportation from the ANO movement.

Do you plan to build new cycling paths, mark bike lanes, or legalize cycling throughways in Prague 1 in the upcoming years?

I’m a strong advocate for cycling paths, meaning I can ride somewhere without being endangered by cars passing closely, trams, or even having to dodge pedestrians.

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The initial plan must focus on a backbone route through Prague 1. Additional sections can then be added. But first, I need to be able to seamlessly travel from Karlín and Holešovice to Smíchov or to the embankment of Prague 2.

I am currently focused on devising a route that would connect Karlín to Smíchov. The gentlemen from IPR (Institute of Planning of the City of Prague, note by the editor) propose the left-bank cycle route A1 and the right-bank A2. I’ve created a ‚middle‘ variant that would initially connect Smíchov with Karlín. Riding through Karlín works well. However, all real cycling ends under the Štefánik Bridge. I believe cyclists should be able to ride on the road above the embankment instead of going down to the embankment. There are significant conflicts arising there between boat operators, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Cyclists believe that those two narrow smooth strips on the embankment are reserved for them. There used to be painted sharrows on them, but those are irrevocably gone. There was also a serious accident where a boater opened a car door into the path of a woman on a bike, and she was seriously injured. It ended up in court, with a suspended sentence for the driver.

So, what is your vision for this section of Dvořák Embankment?

There are two possibilities. I believe pedestrians mainly walk along the embankment, so I thought about creating a cycle path at the top instead of a sidewalk. This way, the embankment would remain solely for pedestrians.

And the second option?

However, I prefer the second option significantly more, which involves clearing the embankment from parked cars – completely. An independent cycle path would be created along the wall. A clear demarcation between the bike lane and the rest would be established for pedestrians and deliveries.

We will soon begin building new stairs from Štefánik Bridge to the embankment, which should substantially reduce collisions between pedestrians and cyclists. Now, when someone is coming from Karlín and rushes under Štefánik Bridge, heavy collisions with pedestrians occur on the side of the Pivovar boat.

Have you consulted with conservationists about the idea of creating a cycle path on the embankment?

Everything is still in my head. I’ve only been in the office for eight months, and it took me 90 days to get oriented. Since then, I’ve prepared quite a bit. For a start, it’s good to determine what I want, and then figure out how.

How would the ‚cycle passage‘ continue further at Rudolfinum?

I can imagine that the cycle path would head towards Mánes Bridge. It would either lead along one of the sidewalks or along the road towards Klárov. Not many cars drive there anyway, and redirecting them to the tram track wouldn’t cause traffic jams because before the intersection at Malostranská, the bikes would turn onto the cycle path under Mánes Bridge. This way, a portion of the cycle path through half of Prague 1 would be resolved.

Are you planning to at least extend the smooth lanes on the pavement in front of Rudolfinum now?

I didn’t quite understand why this wasn’t done alongside the major project on the embankment, where new sewage systems were installed, and smooth lanes were extended. At that time, I wasn’t yet the council member for transportation, so I couldn’t intervene. Certainly, it should be finished now. Of course, it’s also up to conservationists, but since they have already permitted a lane along the entire length of the embankment, why wouldn’t they allow this small section at Rudolfinum?

Back to Klárov – how will the cycle route continue?

The next testing ground is, of course, Kampa, where there are daily problems. Recently, an Italian tourist on a bike hit a child there. For these reasons, there was a previous proposal for a ‚dismount and walk‘ measure across the entire Kampa area. Cyclists, of course, don’t like this idea.

There used to be three proposed solutions. Either lead the cycle path along the river, or to the right or left of the sidewalk. Currently, I’m discussing this with Deputy Mayor Kateřina Klaslová, who is in charge of all the parks.

So, the solution would be to separate cyclists from pedestrians?

Exactly. We’re discussing the idea of separating the traffic of cyclists and pedestrians. Otherwise, it’s a bit of a pseudo-solution. The ideal solution is for cyclists to ride on their own cycle path and not have to weave among pedestrians, and vice versa.

Then we’ll leave Kampa and be in front of Prague 5, where we need to coordinate plans further with the council member for transportation and the first deputy mayor, Milan Kryl. He represents the Pirates and also looks very favorably upon cycling transportation.

And what kind of connection between Kampa and Prague 5 are you considering?

I can imagine that the path from Kampa would turn off under Legií Bridge and run across a modern pontoon crossing. Of course, we need to reach an agreement with all relevant authorities, which are quite numerous. The Vltava Basin Authority, Prague 1, the City Council, conservationists, and so on are involved. But again, when there is a vision, it’s about refining it technically and convincing everyone. I’ve met with Mr. Kryl, and we discussed this.

We are also planning an interview with Mr. Kryl about the plans for Prague 5, so we’ll see. Are you planning any additional paths, lanes, or routes that will connect to this backbone route?

Nine trades, and tenth one is poverty. Do you know what that means?


When someone takes on too many tasks, they end up with nothing. We could sit here for hours and hours and come up with connections to the backbone route. But suddenly, we realize that the backbone won’t work because the devised route is not feasible. Right now, I want to make Pařížská Street a two-way street for bikes. Those are smaller goals we can address incrementally; the main thing is to focus on the big ones.

So, the primary focus will be on the passage from Karlín to Smíchov?


One major initiative that Prague 1 is preparing is the introduction of charges for vehicles passing through the historic city center. How will this measure affect cycling transportation?

Significantly, because when traffic in Prague 1 is reduced, there will be considerably more space for bikes.

On Smetanovo nábřeží, an extension of the cycle lane to the Karlovy lázně tram stop is reportedly ready for implementation. Could this be done without diverting cars to the tramway, by simply replacing 8 visitor parking spots with a cycle lane and sidewalk? This could be implemented relatively quickly. Will you approve its implementation?

I haven’t heard of that yet, so I need to think about it. Of course, I can weigh pros and cons off the top of my head. However, at the moment, before the new parking system is introduced, each parking spot is worth its weight in gold. On the other hand, the waterfront without cars is much nicer. So, cars shouldn’t be parked there. But where will we replace those eight spots? It’s a balancing act.

I now ride my bike almost daily, and it’s about survival.

I admit that leading cycling traffic through Malá Strana will always be better for me. Passing around Charles Bridge and along Smetanovo nábřeží is very dangerous from my perspective. I ride my bike almost every day now, and it’s a matter of life and death. Even just riding along the waterfront from the center to the National Theatre is incredibly hazardous. Crossing over to the new cycle lane against oncoming traffic is also risky.

That’s why I’d rather direct my effort towards Malá Strana and create a top-notch cycle path. However, if we can calm down Smetanovo nábřeží and have fewer cars passing through there, then maybe. Although primarily, we’re doing it for the trams. Over the last five years, the average delay of trams on Smetanovo nábřeží has extended from six to eighteen tram runs. That’s a terrible number.

If there really were fewer cars on Smetanovo nábřeží, would you agree to continue the reconstruction according to IPR’s plan – meaning expanding the sidewalk and creating a cycle lane in both directions?

Certainly, but it’s really about making sure that by creating a cycle lane, we don’t slow down the trams. First, we need to convince all the representatives to support the calming of car traffic. Currently, arguments like, ‚If you close this, then we’ll close a street in Prague XY for the residents of Prague 1,‘ are being thrown around. I say that I don’t have a problem with that, but I have two remarks about it: Firstly, right beside it will be an identical road that allows you to drive. Because if we close Karmelitská Street, you can smoothly take Blanka, which was built for that purpose. Or if we close Smetanovo nábřeží, you can drive on the Magistrála arterial road, which was designed for that.

Secondly, ladies and gentlemen, you are representatives of the capital city of Prague, not just your district. That means you’re not advocating for your Prague XY in the assembly, but for the entire city. The Prague Heritage Reserve is a UNESCO gem that people from all over the world come to see. We should be preserving this treasure, not destroying it. And furthermore: ‚Realize where your voters are. You have them on the delayed tram…‘

Let’s go back to cycle route A2: On Křižovnická Street at the Staroměstská tram stop, there was a plan to widen the boarding islands and create a new cycle lane. However, due to your initiative, Deputy Mayor Hřib stopped the action. Allegedly, the removal of the turning lane could delay trams. How did the traffic models turn out?

It seems that it won’t be done until the traffic calming is approved. The transport company has its own models and is asking us not to create another bottleneck that would delay trams. As soon as the calming begins, the tram stop will be expanded, and the cycle lane will be created at Staroměstská.

Alright, our readers will certainly remember this.

I ask all readers to come to the city hall when the traffic calming is being approved and form a ‚cord‘ around the city hall. To support this initiative and not the interests of individual representatives. So that those representatives truly understand that the citizens want this.

And when should they come?

At the beginning of next year.

Why only at the beginning of next year?

I think it should be approved in the November, December, or possibly February assembly. Mr. Hřib, I think, wrote somewhere that he wants it to start on January 7, 2024. I would be fine if it were by the end of March. We must realize that the traffic calming around Charles Bridge was first proposed in 1942. Back then, German architects came up with a tunnel that would start at the National Theatre and end at Palach Square. So, it has been 81 years since this idea was discussed…

Another often-discussed topic is the Powder Tower, which falls under the jurisdiction of Prague 1. Back in 2019, a solution was agreed upon, with the consent of all relevant authorities, that would prevent the passage of cars through here, thereby relieving the historic center of Prague. What is your vision in this regard?

From my perspective, that project isn’t bad, but it still has quite a few flaws. Most people probably know my idea that you could have a pedestrian zone from Náměstí Republiky all the way to Prague Castle. My term in office won’t achieve that, but why shouldn’t I at least move closer to it?

The first stage, which I requested the investment department to explore, is to assess the elimination of the parking lot in front of the Municipal House. This way, the pedestrian zone would extend all the way to the current roundabout, which would then be next. Perhaps it won’t be needed by then.

The second stage would be eliminating car passage through the Powder Tower. It’s in the plan, there are projects for it, but we can’t do everything at once. I confirm that, from my perspective, it’s not a bad idea at all. However, we must realize that this entire area needs supply lines as well. We have the Kotva shopping center here. Moving the entire supply back through Rybná Street is quite a challenge. We considered making Králodvorská Street two-way and diverting cars that way. This project is still only being developed by IPR. It’s not advanced enough to be realized. That means, yes, preparations are underway, considerations are being made, they’re figuring out the details.

So, the extension of the pedestrian zone in front of the Municipal House is already in progress?

It’s in progress at Prague 1’s investment department. They’re figuring out everything it would entail.

What is your stance on expanding contraflow bicycle traffic in Prague 1? Readers have requested making a few streets two-way for bikes, which would significantly simplify travel through the city center, such as Husova or Na Perštýně. If you want to get from the center to Národní třída, the only alternative is the congested Smetanovo nábřeží; all the one-way streets go north. Do you have any plans in this regard?

I’ll be happy if Mister Editor Šnobr becomes the coordinator, and prepares a list of possible modifications in Prague 1. We’ll sit down with the transport department, and tackle one suggestion after another. I’ll be very glad if we manage to choose something from that list and implement it.

So, you haven’t initiated any changes yet, but you’re inclined towards cycling contraflow streets expansion?

In half a year, I can’t build Karlštejn Castle, but certainly within a year. We will organize a separate meeting, summon representatives from elected bodies – for example, Marcel Lachmann (Greens, note by the editor) cycles very often – with the transport department, you and others that you recommend. Then we can discuss one street after another.

Praha 1 does not have any 30 km/h zones. Are you planning to limit the speed to 30 km/h anywhere?

Something is planned in the Petrská quarter. We are planning temporary adjustments, a so-called ‚bollardization‘. When you enter there, you will exit on the same side. This means an absolute limitation on transit. The adjustments will not be done with retractable bollards, but through one-way routing.

What about bike racks? In Prague 1, in the past year, they have even decreased in several places, and no new ones are being added…

The bike racks were owned by the company JCDecaux, and they gradually removed them instead of asking us if we wanted to buy them. Currently, mapping is underway to identify where bike racks were or could be. We will provide this information to TSK (Technical Road Administration). We will request that bike racks be installed in places where they are already permitted. If we identify new locations, we will ask TSK to consider the possibility of placing them there.

When could we expect these bike racks?

This could happen very quickly, certainly by the end of 2023.

Is there a plan to expand the network of bike-sharing parking in Prague 1?

Currently, there are around 40 bike-sharing parking spots in Prague 1. Three more significant ones are in preparation. These are dedicated areas with marked spaces. We are preparing an additional 40 to 50 virtual spots. These are areas where it doesn’t bother anyone, and they won’t be marked. These are large spaces, for example, the Malostranská tram station, where we don’t need to mark spots on the road. There’s a large space in the park where bike parking wouldn’t be a problem. There are plenty of such locations, for instance near the Jindřišská Tower (there has already been a spot implemented there, note from the editor). Also, at Wenceslas Square or Republic Square. So, in places where there are already racks on the square, we will add virtual parking. There are five such spots on Republic Square. These spots will be clearly indicated on the maps of individual rental shops, not bike-sharing companies. It’s not about shared bikes, but about bikes rented for money or with a Lítačka card, just like how I ride a bike myself.

We’ll get to that as well.

Yes. I would like to have 40 to 60 new bike parking spots, so that we reach a total of 100. The original proposal from the rental companies was for 157 spots, but they wanted them literally everywhere. I don’t have a problem with creating a foundation and then having additional spots pop up when suitable locations are found.

For me, the key date is August 31, 2023. All rental companies know that by August 31, they need to switch from general parking to zoned parking. On that day, the action ‚Sticker Your Scooter‘ will start in Prague, where you’ll be able to attach a sticker through a QR code if a scooter is parked improperly.

As for bike parking spots, Vojtěšská Quarter or the surroundings of Bethlehem Square remain absolutely uncovered, even though there are dozens of parking spots for cars. Will bike parking be added?

I will discuss this with the technician from the company representing all the rental companies, and with the traffic department. The vision is to expand rental spots and switch off general parking.

For instance, Nextbike has been operating only in designated spots from the start.

Some have it, some don’t. Lime and Bolt can switch immediately – according to statements from people in these companies.

What change in the current electoral period will most positively impact pedestrian or cycling transportation in Prague 1?

Parking reform and traffic calming in Prague 1.

Which foreign city is an inspiration for you in the field of transportation?



No, really. I’ve been to Vienna, I’ve been to Italian cities, and the problems, for example, with shared scooters are quite similar. Places that have had station-based rentals from the beginning, where bikes are connected to charging stations, like in Bratislava, have significantly fewer issues. In Vienna, I was shocked by the sight of broken scooters scattered around. The situation there seemed worse than here.

Do you ever move around on a bike or scooter in Prague 1?

I use my own scooter and use rental bikes. And even though I’m the councilor for transportation, I’ve also received a fine for an improperly parked bike in Malá Strana…

Is a bike your main means of transportation or more of a supplementary way to get around the city?

I mostly walk, and I ride a bike when I’m in a hurry because it’s genuinely the fastest way. It takes exactly 6 minutes from the city hall to the town hall on a bike. Trams wouldn’t even be that quick.

Do you follow the ‚Městem na kole‘ magazine?

Occasionally, yes.

Thank you for the interview.

Thank you as well.

This is an adjusted ChatGPT translation of this article:

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