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Gdansk with pedestrian crossings strewn about. Promises or new quality in the city?

05 of October '23

If the announcements about new crossings live to see implementation, the comfort of pedestrians in the districts of Zaspa and Przymorze will strongly improve. In Gdańsk, however, more persistence is needed in the implementation of such investments. Because it happens that despite declarations, we have to wait years for new crossings.

Not one, but as many as five new surface crossings are to be built in two districts of Gdańsk, reported. In a nod to pedestrians, the city plans to do so on al. Rzeczypospolitej, an important artery running through Zaspa and Przymorze. It will not only be more comfortable, but also safer, as the speed limit is to be reduced to 50 km / h (today driving up to 70 km / h is allowed).

Arteria convenient for pedestrians

The locations in question are: by the Zaspa Gallery, Startowa Street, Żwirki i Wigury Street. The biggest and most costly challenge will be the crossings in place of the footbridge over Jana Pawła Avenue and al. Rzeczypospolitej. But this gigantic structure, which is a relic of the communist era, will first have to be partially demolished, and the cost of this project reaches as much as PLN 35 million. So it can be expected that such an investment is a melody of the future.

But if the scenario of five new crossings actually comes true, we are in for a new quality. Today in this part of the city, pedestrians have to maneuver between tunnels or, worse, make up a lot of ground.

What are the chances of these changes? First of all, although officials resisted for a long time, it's hard not to notice that for several years now Gdańsk has been taking bolder steps toward a more pro-pedestrian policy. New zebra crossings have arrived in the city, suffice it to mention the long-awaited ones on Grunwaldzka Avenue in Oliwa, by the Gdańsk Medical University in the Aniołki district and on Podwale Przedmiejskie.

What's more, at the end of 2021, a pedestrian officer position was established. Fewer than that, among the five core values of the Gdańsk Development Strategy 2030 Plus, "openness of urban spaces," understood as the accessibility of public areas to all, was enshrined. Within the strategy, pedestrian traffic was considered a priority.

good effect, but realizations with problems

The eyes of many unbelievers were opened by the zebra at the representative Upland Gate. Although many drivers predicted that the investment would jam the heart of Gdańsk, nothing of the sort happened. And pedestrians gained an extension of the Royal Route, comfort and direct access to streetcar platforms, as well as to the other side of the street without having to use stairs and a tunnel.

Przejście przy Bramie Wyżynnej i Forum Gdańsk

The crossing by the Wyżyna Gate and Forum Gdańsk

photo: Dominik Paszlinski/ Gdań

When we launched the overground crossing at the Upland Gate, many people feared that it would jam up Gdańsk. In fact, it turned out that car traffic runs very smoothly," said Piotr Grzelak, deputy mayor of Gdańsk, in April.

According to officials, during rush hour, the flow of pedestrians and cyclists at the new crossing is greater than the traffic of cars. A total of 159 pedestrians and cyclists and 79 vehicles were recorded per minute.

The fact that the investment has not overturned the city's traffic is evidenced by the fact that Gdańsk has been the leader for two years in a ranking indicating the fluidity of car traffic in cities with more than 300,000 residents.

The crossing at the Upland Gate, however, is one of those investments whose implementation went at a snail's pace. The investment was handed over four years after it was announced, despite the fact that preparations were to take... only a year.

waiting for the zebra by the train station

Another project that has been delayed for years is the crossing at the level of the renovated Central Station. Although the implementation was announced as early as 2017, first the city postponed the construction date, then the Pomeranian governor did not want to give permission. In the meantime, regulations have changed and there are no longer formal obstacles. The snag is that it was only in April this year that the tender was announced. Will it be downhill now? Not necessarily, because so far it has not been possible to select a contractor.

Przejście planowane przy Dworcu Głównym

The crossing planned near the Central Station

photo: Piotr Wittman/graphics: Jacek Szymanski

Therefore, although every announcement of measures that will make the city easily accessible not only for four-wheeled enthusiasts is welcome, looking at the troubles with some of the projects, the road to a friendlier Zaspa and Przymorze may still turn out to be long.

Ewa Karendys

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