The new Prague City Hall has once again brushed off plans to revitalize public space in the capital. Evergreen is, of course, the unhappy Václavák, whose policy change even the present merchants have been discussing for many years. The first adjustments are currently underway.
However, according to the Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital City of Prague (IPR), much more is going on in the heart of Prague. Many of them are already being processed by architects, and some projects are even waiting for a building permit. Their leitmotif is to make the center of Prague greener, more aesthetic and more pleasant for people.
Here is a little tasting:
The transformation has been talked about since 2005, when it was designed by the Cigler Marani Architects studio. Unforeseeable contracts with tenants of various refreshment stalls and other bureaucracies have so far stood in the way of Václavák’s modifications. In recent days, however, the Prague Council has agreed to update the proposal and plans to continue the project to the next phase. A new proposal for the upper half of the square is currently being addressed: trams that run around its perimeter are to return there. A promenade will be created in the middle. Trees, sidewalks and generally more space for people are to be added to the square. The revitalization of the square is to begin in 2022. Adjustments to the lower Wenceslas Square are to begin next year.
Surroundings of the National Museum
The area around the landmark of Václavák, the National Museum, was explored during the last major reconstruction. Further changes will follow. The building of the former Federal Assembly also belongs to the historical older building of the National Museum. Even before the reconstruction, they were poorly accessible for pedestrians and connected in the main unsatisfactory way in terms of the route between the main road and Vinohrady Avenue. Currently, you can drive in only one direction and the surrounding area is paved. The revitalization of Čelakovského sady and tree planting is taking place around it, and tram tracks have been prepared from the square for future connections to the tram line.
The approved private project of the developer Crestyl near Wenceslas Square may wipe his eyes. The company has invited the help of the world-famous designer Thomas Heatherwick, and according to his plan, it is to start reconstruction and new construction next year in a spacious section between Jindřišská Street and the Savarin Palace in Příkopy. Within five years, a magnificent center of shops and restaurants is to be built here around the building of the historic riding school and the garden promenade, which will connect both parts of the city.
Tram tracks instead of Prague’s Sherwood
The tram ran historically from the State Opera in Vinohrady. Current plans envisage a slightly different interconnection of the area. Part of the tracks should eventually deviate from Vinohradská to Wilsonova and Washingtonova streets and continue to the main railway station. This modification is likely to significantly reduce the current problem park in front of the station. Currently, it is a matter of transforming the zoning plan and the creation of new tram islands.
Liberation of the main road
The traffic artery that will take you from the highway through Prague to Ústí nad Labem is currently used exclusively by cars and is insensitive to the surroundings and people. At the request of Prague, Gehl Architects from Copenhagen dealt with the humanization of the three-kilometer section of the North-South Highway between Hlávková and Nuselský Bridges, where the bus intersects the densely populated city center and many important institutions: the National Museum, the State Opera and the Prague City Museum.
Last year, they came up with a proposal to add small parks, better subway or tram entrances, change parts of the road surface (paving according to the first drawings) in key locations near the main road, so that sections slow down, become clearer and more affordable for pedestrians and cyclists. . Significant changes are planned, for example, around the IP Pavlova or Štvanice section. But we will wait for them for a few more years.
The project, from which IPR has high hopes, will affect the largest part of the center of Prague. It is a whole long line, on which the former old town walls stood. According to the IPR, the whole area of Národní, 28. října, Na Příkopech, náměstí Republiky and Revoluční streets plus the “forecourt” of the Legion Bridge and Štefánik Bridge is planned. The aim is to unify the key historic streets and make them the main city street. The possibility of returning trams to the place of cars in some parts of the centers and also the creation of a large city market on this route is also being examined. Architects work in some parts, and in the localities private investors are already counting on early renovations of historic department stores – Kotva and Máj.
In an ideal world, you will walk Revoluční Street with fewer cars in a few years, but with spacious wide sidewalks and trees, pass a modified Anchor with a new piazzetta, nicer Příkopy, walk to the new May with a green facade and paved surroundings and reach the National Theater and Vltava.