A new cycle path has connected Stará Bělá and Polanka nad Odrou, while frequent road crossings remain

Publikováno: 12. června. 2024, 7 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 11. června. 2024
Úvodní foto: Adolf Horsinka
Publikováno: 12. června. 2024, 7 min. čtení
Aktualizováno: 11. června. 2024
Úvodní foto: Adolf Horsinka

A new cycle path has connected the Ostrava city districts of Stará Bělá and Polanka nad Odrou. It was opened at the end of May during the ceremonial opening of a new bridge over the Odra River. The construction costs of the cycling connection exceeded four million Czech crowns excluding VAT. This was announced to journalists by the spokesperson of the city hall, Gabriela Pokorná.

„During the reconstruction of the bridge over the Odra River on Na Lukách Street in Polanka nad Odrou, a new cycling connection between both city districts was built. The length of the newly constructed path, a shared route for pedestrians and cyclists, is 116 meters, with a width of 2.5 meters in the southeast section and three meters in the northwest section. The path on the bridge is part of the bridge structure and is composed of an asphalt surface,“ said the spokesperson.

Partial improvement of a local problematic route, but the main issue persists

This is an improvement on an otherwise problematic cycling connection between Stará Bělá, Polanka nad Odrou, and the EuroVelo 4 cycle route, which continues further north along the Odra River. At the Odra River crossing, two sections of the cycle path were previously interrupted by a 1.5-meter-wide sidewalk not legalized for cycling. It was therefore necessary to ride on the roadway. The newly constructed short section of the cycle path connecting to the new bridge has ensured that it is no longer necessary to ride in traffic on the II/478 road at this point.

However, other problematic aspects of this cycle route remain. As described by Martin Lindovský in the University of Pardubice’s expert journal Perner’s Contacts as early as 2011, a significant issue with this section is that a cyclist traveling from Polanka on the cycle path along the Odra must cross the road three times over a 700-meter stretch and yield to motor traffic if they wish to use the protected infrastructure. One of these crossings occurs near a railway crossing.

The recently completed short section of the cycle path has indeed widened the original narrow sidewalk, and now cycling in this section is legally possible off the main road. However, the problem of frequent road crossings persists, as the path has not been transferred to only one side of the road.

An obvious improvement is the new marking of the cycle crossing at the intersection with the road at the western edge of the bridge bend. This previously criticized intersection is thus slightly better highlighted for drivers. Additionally, according to the project, there was supposed to be landscaping to improve visibility conditions.

During the reconstruction, the inadequate bridge from 1968 was replaced by a new concrete bridge. The reconstruction of the bridge, costing 62 million Czech crowns, was funded by the Road Administration of the Moravian-Silesian Region, while the city covered the cost of the cycling connection. Divers assisted in the renovation of the bridge, using carbon electrodes to remove the foundations of the original bridge’s central pillar. „The bridge is important for connecting to the main road I/58, which leads to Mošnov Airport. Since last spring, the bridge had to be out of operation due to the extensive works,“ said Radek Podstawka, Deputy Mayor for Transport (ANO).

Ostrava's further plans

Construction of another new cycle path continues in Ostrava from Mečnikovova Street to Žákovská Street, spanning 6.4 kilometers, which will connect a number of cycling routes on the outskirts of the city. „The city has allocated nearly 20 million Czech crowns for cycle path repairs this year. Additionally, preparations are underway for other new cycling routes, which are part of various projects, such as the revitalization of the Ostravice waterfront behind the Černá louka exhibition grounds, the reconstruction of Přemyslovců Street, and construction on 28. října Street,“ said Deputy Mayor Břetislav Riger (Ostravak).

Pokorná also noted that besides the construction of cycling infrastructure, the city also supports a bike-sharing system. „We want to offer people an alternative eco-friendly mode of transportation. Last year, the city supported this service with 4.3 million Czech crowns and introduced a new feature: 30 minutes of free bike-sharing for users with an annual ODIS pass. The economic aspect of this mode of transportation is certainly friendly to users; more than 91 percent of last year’s rentals were under 15 minutes, with an average distance traveled of 1.4 kilometers,“ said Deputy Mayor Aleš Boháč (Starostové pro Ostravu).

Cyclists can use 1,100 bikes located at 380 stations. Shared bikes can also be used to travel to other cities, including the newly added destinations of Frýdek-Místek, as well as Ludgeřovice and Hlučín in the Opava region. Last year, people made 469,563 rentals of shared bikes and covered a distance of 658,797 kilometers.

Recently, Ostrava also introduced its new cycling concept, aiming to transform the main streets of Ostrava into cyclist-friendly boulevards.

This is an adjusted machine translation using Automat’s CycleLingo Translator (ChatGPT) of this article:

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