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Downtown revolution - the next stage in the reconstruction of the streets of downtown Poznań

14 of April '22

Poznan's downtown is a huge construction site and will remain so for years to come. The next stage of the revitalization of the streets of the inner center is being prepared: at Wolnosci Square and , perhaps , also next to the famous Okrąglak. There will be more trees, greenery and space for pedestrians.

The next stage of thorough changes in the inner city is the result of a 2015 competition. It concerned the reconstruction of the most important streets in the downtown area: Świętego Marcina and 27 Grudnia, as well as Marcinkowskiego Avenue connecting them, and Ratajczaka, Kantaka and Gwarna Streets. The winning work was prepared by Studio ADS (known primarily for the realization of Poznan's Stary Browar).

The first stage of the so-called Center Project, the transformation of the central part of Saint Marcin, was completed in spring 2019. The section near the modernist skyscrapers of the Alfa shopping and service center (designed by Jerzy Liśniewicz, 1965-72) ceased to be an unfriendly thoroughfare with densely packed parking spaces. Today it is a tree-lined thoroughfare serving primarily pedestrians and cyclists, with a streetcar track and two traffic-calmed roadways. Last year, more work began on both ends of the already rebuilt section and on Marcinkowski Avenue.

more than a row of maple trees

Now the southern part of Wolnosci Square and - its continuation - 27 Grudnia Street, as well as a section of Ratajczaka Street, are being considered. The city has just selected the most favorable offer in the tender (a consortium of Tormel and Terlan), although , as Maja Chłopocka-Nowak, director of communications and investment coordination from the company Poznańskie Inwestycje Miejskie (PIM), specifies:

"the final conclusion of the contract will be able to take place after the future contractor has provided all the necessary documents and the prior inspection by the President of the Public Procurement Office, which is obligatory for contracts co-financed with EU funds .

Once the contract is signed, a thorough transformation of the southern strand of Liberty Square will begin (its central part was awkwardly rebuilt back in 2006). The streetcar track will be moved away from the southern frontage, resulting in a fourteen-meter-wide space for pedestrians and cyclists paved primarily with Strzelińskie granite: gray (sidewalk) and , as PIM puts it , rusty (bike lane). Most significantly, 30 maple trees will appear in two rows in this now treeless area.

Południowa strona placu Wolności (po prawej). Wzdłuż pierzei zostaną zasadzone dwa rzędy klonów.

The south side of Liberty Square (right). Two rows of maple trees will be planted along the frontage

Photo: Jakub Głaz

for new tracks

A section of Ratajczaka Street, meanwhile, will feature a section of track - part of a new streetcar connection across the street (we wrote more about this project here). Here, too, non-existent greenery is planned: trees and a strip of low vegetation separating the tracks from the bike path and sidewalk. As Dr. Chłopocka-Nowak assures:

all trees, except those in the low greenery strip, will have a special anti-compression system, i.e. a protective structure that allows the free development of roots.

Such a system has already been used on the rebuilt section of St. Martin.

Ulica Ratajczaka ulegnie całkowitej zmianie. Pojawi się nowe torowisko oraz drzewa i niska zieleń.

Ratajczaka Street will undergo a complete change. A new track will appear, as well as trees and low greenery

photo: Jakub Głaz

Finally, if finances allow, the work will be extended (as an option) to include all of 27 Grudnia Street, up to the former Okrąglak department store (designed by Marek Leykam, 1955, now an office building), the adjacent square with its now obliterated shape, and Kantaka and Gwarna Streets. At Okrąglak the amount of greenery is to increase significantly (see visualization), plane trees will be planted along the street. Small islands of low vegetation are planned for Gwarna Street (we wrote about the chaos there recently here). In connection with the construction of a new streetcar route in Ratajczaka Street, stops on existing track sections will also be significantly moved.

Ul. 27 Grudnia. Przebudowa tego odcinka planowana jest jako opcja zależna od finansów.

27 Grudnia Street. Reconstruction of this section is planned as a finance-dependent option

photo: Jakub Głaz

let's still wait, let's not rush yet

When can the results be expected? Relatively certain dates apply only to the ongoing phases. The eastern part of Saint Martin's and Marcinkowskiego avenues are expected to be ready by December. The western section - with the large and fixed in a scaled-down form intersection with al. Niepodległości - in the first half of next year.

Nevertheless, the pace of the work has recently been complained about by downtown entrepreneurs and caterers. In fact, sometimes single workers can be seen on the construction site. The city explains this, among other things, by the exodus of workers from Ukraine, although a certain inertia was already evident before the war broke out.

On the other hand, the contractor may have a maximum of 600 days to complete the work for the stage that is being prepared. This is a long time, although it is estimated that the work could be finished by the end of next year. It's also worth remembering that all phases of the reconstruction also include an almost complete upgrade of the underground infrastructure.

However, it is not yet known what decisions will be made on the construction of a tramway in the southern part of Ratajczaka Street. The bids that construction companies have submitted in the tender far exceed the budget set by the city.

Jakub Głaz

The vote has already been cast