The fourth year in the position of Prague Mayor’s Square for Transport begins. How do you evaluate the time in terms of transport constructions?
I went to the position mainly as a technician, mechanical engineer. As for the issue of construction, my program focused mainly on the state of the infrastructure of Prague’s bridges and other things. Of course, new construction is also a part of it. When I boarded, the three bridges were in a state of disrepair, and they began to diagnose what to do next. We have worked hard on the diagnostics of the bridges and now none of the Prague bridges is closed and the reconstructions continue during operation. We know the state of our infrastructure and it has improved. Bridges will no longer fall as before.
This year is a year of change when we can move. So far, we have mainly done reconstructions and prepared new buildings in parallel. We will now start implementing new constructions. This has less of an impact on traffic restrictions, as they are being built in new locations and, on the one hand, the infrastructure will finally be strengthened and developed as the city needs. The construction of the footbridge between Karlín and Holešovice is starting, the contractor of the reconstruction of the Libeň Bridge, the competition with the Dvorecký Bridge, the repairs of the Barrandov Bridge are continuing.
When will people see the first concrete results?
In the case of the Libeň Bridge, the objection of unsuccessful Eurovie has already been settled. They now have time to appeal to the antitrust authority after making a 10 million bail. Another event that is already underway is the construction of a tram line from Barrandov to Holyni, which is a new kilometer line. And at the beginning we will start building the Modřany-Libuš project, which is almost a three-kilometer track. We are also preparing to extend Strakonická Street towards the center by one lane, which is crucial in terms of the road network. In addition, we are competing with the contractors of the Dvorecký Bridge, which we would like to start building this year. We also have a competitive contractor for metro D.
Metro D was your election priority, yet the results are still not very visible. why?
This project has gone through a huge appeal. In the end, the antitrust authority agreed with us and confirmed that we had taken all the steps correctly. We are now waiting for the last stamp and so far we have issued an invalid building permit. Everything is now up to the Ministry of Transport, as soon as a valid building permit is issued, we will start building.
Can you describe more precisely the delays associated with the construction of metro line D?
When I joined the municipality three years ago, the zoning decision was sued, the first stage of the geological survey was not completed and we did not have a certain building permit. And we still needed a change in the zoning plan. All this has already been achieved, including an agreement with the landowners around the station, which was a huge problem.
Do you plan to partner with private investors as previously planned?
Cooperation with landowners is planned, but it is not a form of exclusive partnership, as was planned with Penta as the only general private contractor in the past. We withdrew from this and started negotiating with the direct owners in the given localities.
How much has the preparation of metro line D cost?
It will already be an amount between two and three billion crowns.
Let’s go back to the existing metro lines. When will the new central signage be installed?
As for the information and navigation system, it has been world-class in the past, but it is no longer suitable. Over the years, it became such a confusing ballast. That is why we have announced a design competition for a new unified information system. The commission will discuss this at the end of January, and sometime in February the results of the competition will be known.
Will subway stations, staircases and vestibules ever be cleared of advertising?
We are not going to completely clean up all advertising. Within the transport company, we have an expert opinion prepared on how ideal profitability is, proportional to the advertising space we provide. We follow that. It turns out that if the old contracts succeed, then the area is terminated three times and we get more money from it than before. The last issue, which is affected by visual smog, suffers the most precisely because of the old contracts with Rencar, with which we have a long-standing litigation. I believe that the court’s actions will work in our favor and this situation will be resolved within a year or two. The architect of the metro deals with the whole issue.
The advertising space will also change on the surface when you cancel the JCDec company and stops. Is such an action manageable in real time?
It is proceeding according to a detailed schedule, I am not fully in charge of it, because historically the contract with JCDecaux is not under a Prague transport company, but under the property department of the municipality, so Councilor Chabr manages it. In addition, it is only part of the stops. The property department has already managed to agree on a schedule and the old stops are gradually being liquidated and we are assembling new ones there.
Prague transport will also see one technical return. Trolleybuses will return. Where will they ride?
Fifty years after the abolition of trolleybuses in Prague, we are starting to restore this mode of transport and in January we started the construction of the first line. We are thus correcting a historical mistake that the then communist leadership of Prague made. The first line will be 140, which leads from Palmovka via Prosek and Letňany to Čakovice. It is about twelve kilometers long. Seven kilometers will be covered in challenging hilly terrain. Energy will be recovered. We make state-of-the-art technologies using dynamic trolleybus charging. It is charged during operation from the trolley and when it brakes, the energy returns. It is an emission-free technology.
Green transport in Prague is certainly a big topic, but don’t you think, for example, the creation of cycle lanes on busy multi-lane roads is dangerous and restrictive for motorists?
I checked the situation in the places you call dangerous and looked at it from two perspectives. Firstly, I had accident statistics prepared before and after and found that after the introduction of cycle lanes, they would decrease by about thirty percent at the same traffic intensity. The reduction in accidents is due to the fact that when the lane for cars is narrower, the driver drives slower and safer. The second thing is that in these complicated places, cyclists have always been allowed to enter and actually ride on the Vltava, for example. If the lanes are separate, it may look dangerous, but the statistics say the opposite. Bicycle lanes are being built worldwide for safety reasons, and in places where historical cyclists are not allowed, they will not be new there either.
What further development of cycling will he experience in Prague?
Our goal is to build separate bike paths, which is the best and safest solution. However, the historical conditions of Prague often do not allow it in the narrow streets. Building is therefore easier on the outskirts of Prague, where the space is freer. Now we have been working on the creation of bicycle paths to the city, which would be, for example, along the railway lines, where nothing else can be built, but a cycle path can be created here. Already today, for example, it goes from Vysočany along Rokytka, from Žižkov pod Vítkovem, from Troja and Holešovičky along the Vltava. From the south, the trail leads from Vraný nad Vltavou through Zbraslav, Modřany to the Vyšehrad tunnel, and the trail also leads from Radotín. At the same time, we already have an application for a zoning decision for the railway promenade, which will be created on the site of an abandoned line from Hostivař to the railway bridge on Výton.
The railway bridge awaits future modifications. What stage is this project at?
This is solved by the Railway Administration, we are only the owner of the cantilevered footbridges. An architectural competition is currently underway under the auspices of the Railway Administration, but Deputy Hlaváček and I are members of the selection committee. Both approaches are allowed in the competition. Either a brand new bridge or the use of current construction and building. The main thing is that a new railway station Výtoň and a new track are to be created in order to be the most three-track railway and thus meet the onslaught of regional and urban train transport, which will also strengthen.
You can catch the railway, metro and cyclists. What are you going to do for standard motorists who still complain about traveling in Prague?
What I can do is complete the city ring road. At the beginning of the election period, my colleague Hlaváček and I came up with a modified Blanka II project. A large part of the circuit would thus sink underground so as not to form such craters as the people around Malovanka or Hradčanská complain about. So that the city ring does not divide the city district, but on the contrary, it expands urbanization and new completion. Today, we are in a situation where we have a concept for a territorial decision and are discussing it with the authorities concerned. I assume that we will apply for a zoning decision later this year. The circuit lacks about ten kilometers, which will largely lead underground, which also suits the affected parts of the city. The Prague ring road is being built by the state and there is the most fundamental part between Nupaky and Běchovice, where the situation has been going on for twenty years. And I hope the ministry is already kicking the ground by this term. So far, every government has promised this over the last few terms. We are subsequently preparing the Hostivař Clutch.
In the past, you were the system of the formation of metro S, ie the underground railway for trains. Is he still in the game?
So far, we have competed with two Prague railway carriers, but this project is still in its infancy. Prague has a huge potential of the railway network usable for urban transport. In Prague, unlike other metropolises, there are mainly lines that transport passengers to the city center, end there and return. He practically does not pass through Prague. We have a strategy for the development of the city railway and the Railway Administration has commissioned a feasibility study for the Prague Railway Junction. This study will answer where and where the tunnels under consideration should lead to suit the whole railway complex and the connection of high-speed lines. There are already about 160 kilometers of railways in Prague, but they carry only 70,000 passengers a day. Trams have about 140 million kilometers of tracks and transport roughly. Here you can see the huge untapped potential.
In addition to the circuit, Prague has another project that he has been talking about since the 1990s, and the beginning of construction is still not visible. It is a connection of the city with the airport. Will they ever see this track?
It is in the project work phase, again under the responsibility of the Railway Administration. We work closely with the administration in negotiations with the city districts and the owners of the affected lands. Currently, the section between the Negrelli Viaduct and the Exhibition Grounds and the section between Veleslavín and Václav Havel Airport are closest to the building. We cannot expect a complete completion before 2028 or 2029. That is why we have come up with a temporary vision of better transport and we want to deploy large-capacity three-link trolleybuses with two joints on line 119. Simultaneously with the construction of the Divoká Šárka – Dědina tram line, where we compete with contractors, we invented this trolleybus line here, which will offer greater comfort before the train line is created.