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The street has defeated City Hall. The nightmare of participation in Warsaw

23 of November '23

First, the City was unable to designate a crosswalk over Marszałkowska Street during its ongoing reconstruction. Now it will ask residents in a Charette workshop format about how Iron Gate Square is to be designed. Will we ever see the realization of at least that part of the plans that has already been approved? Warsaw seems to be stuck in an endless process of arrangements.

Green Marszałkowska is a project, divided into (too) many stages, for the reconstruction of one of the main streets in the center of the capital. Piece by piece, the artery is taking on a more human character. However, it is still far from perfect. The section between Królewska Street and Bank Square is currently under construction. As part of the project, a bicycle path and parking bays have been separated, and greenery has also arrived.

Zielona Marszałkowska - projekt miasta przed okrojeniem

Green Marszałkowska—the city's project before trimming

© UM Warsaw

However, this is how it looks on paper. In reality, the sidewalk, lined with granite slabs (concrete ones have been laid in the much more representative space of Trzech Krzyży Square), is worryingly narrow along a large section—measuring about 1.5 meters. Bank Square is not undergoing renovation, only minor improvements.

Nor has a pedestrian crossing been designated in the Saxon Axis, which would connect the Saxon Garden with the Iron Gate Square. The designation of the crossing is part of the Green Marszałkowska project presented years ago. Why has its implementation outgrown the capital's authorities? The investment, announced since 2020, turned out to be too expensive—about 2million zlotys were missing.

Now, however, the City intends to ask residents about how to develop the nearby Żelazna Brama Square, writing directly:

As part of the Green Marszałkowska project, the section from Królewska Street to Bankowy Square, between Solidarności Avenue and Królewska Street, the sidewalk has been repaired, a bicycle path has been created and parking has been cleaned up. [At the same time, Zelazna Brama Square, which used to be adjacent to Saski Garden, is now cut off from it by the very wide Marszałkowska Street. How can we change this?

It would seem that the answer was simple, obvious and has long been discussed. However, Warsaw's investments in public spaces are slipping. In recent decades, the city has actually managed to complete two squares—Grzybowski and Five Corners. The reconstruction of Defilad Square is underway. The pace of these investments indicates that this is not a key priority.

Similar workshops have also recently been organized for Bank Square and Theater Square. However, there are ready projects lying in the drawer for, among others, the Warsaw Gwarara Square or the winning project for the Orsza Square Local Center. Residents engaged in further arrangements and consultations at the same time can't wait for the implementation of already consulted projects.

Read also: Reconstruction of Skwer Gwary Warszawskiej will begin

Koncepcja Skweru Gwary Warszawskiej

The concept of Skweru Gwary Warszawskiej

© UM Warsaw

Information about the public consultations on Żelazna Brama Square is available at: LINK

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast