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Dmowskiego traffic circle: lots of greenery and little improvement for pedestrians

08 of April '21

Warsaw authorities have announced a tender for a contractor to rebuild the Dmowskiego Roundabout. One of the most important intersections of the capital's downtown is today a concrete desert dominated by cars. According to officials, the place is to be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly green oasis. However, the scope of functional changes is not large, and little is left of the plans to adapt the traffic circle itself to the needs of non-motorists.

A new center, a green Marszalkowska, Warsaw's smile....

Rondo Dmowskiego dziś

photo: ZDM Warsaw

New pedestrian crossings, bicycle crossings, signaling and extended streetcar stops should be ready by 2021. These are the city's assumptions regarding the tender just announced. This is part of a larger project - a section of Green Marszalkowska, included in the New City Center project. It's easy to get lost in the design matrix and the successive names, stages and fragments of the city's ongoing activities. Likewise, navigating the revised Roundabout will not be as easy as it might seem from the announcements of the authorities.

Crossings not on the traffic circle itself

Rondo Dmowskiego - projekt

photo: ZDM Warsaw

Although the investment is described as designating crossings "around the Dmowskiego traffic circle," in fact this part of the investment concerns not the traffic circle itself, but the nearest blocks to it. Thus, underground, inconvenient and overcrowded crossings under the traffic circle itself will remain in use. The distance between the nearest pedestrian crossings will average 250, i.e., about 120 meters from the center of the traffic circle. Pedestrian crossings with bicycle crossings and asylums between the roadways will appear:

  • through Marszałkowska Street on the northern side, at Widok Street. A bicycle crossing and a section of the bicycle road to Widok Street (with a bicycle counter-switch) are also planned here, and a bicycle connection to Poznanska Street on the other side;
  • through Jerozolimskie Avenue on the western side, at the level of Poznanska Street. Here there will also be a bicycle crossing leading into Poznanska Street (with a bicycle counter-switch);
  • through Marszałkowska Street on the south side, at the level of Nowogrodzka Street, with another bicycle crossing along Nowogrodzka Street (with a counter-bike);
  • through Jerozolimskie Avenue on the east side, at the level of Parking Street.

Streetcar platforms closer to the traffic circle will be accessible from them. New bicycle crossings will connect separated sections of the bicycle route along Marszalkowska Street. To the north of the traffic circle, a missing section is currently being laid out all the way to Swietokrzyska Street. In turn, the reconstruction of the intersection of Marszałkowska and Nowogrodzka will make Nowogrodzka a convenient alternative to Jerozolimskie Avenue for cyclists.

by bike around

Rondo Dmowskiego - projekt Rondo Dmowskiego - projekt

Photo: ZDM Warszawa

Continuity of bicycle passage is also a bit of an overstatement. Those riding along Marszałkowska Street will not pass through the intersection itself. Unless on the crowded roadway, as is the case now. In order to get to the other side of Jerozolimskie Avenue, they will have to turn towards Poznańska Street, making up about half a kilometer. Such a passage will not be possible on the other side of the traffic circle because the passage in Parkingowa Street (closer to Rotunda) has not been designated, despite the fact that there is, among other things, a station for the city's Veturilo bicycle.


President @trzaskowski_ doesn't know how to complete a city bypass, but we'll have an innovation instead: a pedestrian bypass of the city's main intersection!
Hello @warszawa, already further from the Dmowski Roundabout it was impossible to designate these crossings. Seniors have to walk several hundred meters each?

- Jan Mencwel (@JanMencwel) February 2, 2021

railroaders to blame?

ROndo Dmowskiego - zieleń

photo: ZDM Warsaw

As the city authorities explain, such a scope of reconstruction is due to the railroaders' plans related to the reconstruction of the cross-town tunnel. Then the traffic circle will be ditched and the multimillion-dollar investment would have to be repeated "in a few years." Unfortunately, those responsible for organizing traffic in Warsaw are not eager to reach for temporary solutions that do not involve large amounts of money and rebuilding. Such measures have been implemented, among others, in Krakow on Bohaterów Getta Square where crosswalks and additional sidewalks were marked out on the roadways, separating them with separators and changing the organization of traffic, or on Dietla Avenue and Grunwaldzki Bridge as part of the mobility shield. Similar measures have been successfully introduced by Paris and Berlin, taking advantage of pandemic traffic reductions. The data shows that Warsaw slept through this opportunity. Despite a significant drop in the number of passengers on public transportation, the number of cars on the capital's streets has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Two sentences about the location of the zebras, because unfortunately some commenters didn't look at the announcement (which is a shame, we encourage you). This is a phased solution. Ultimately, with the planned reconstruction of the cross-country line by the railroaders, the traffic circle will most likely be turned into an intersection. Then it will be possible to delineate crossings next to it. Today, a major reconstruction of this place for tens of millions of zlotys, when in a few years the railroaders will ditch it again, is a poor idea.

Warsaw Municipal Road Administration

Dmowskiego traffic circle a green island

Zielona Marszałkowska

photo: ZDM Warsaw

An undoubted advantage of the planned changes is the introduction of greenery to the now concrete desert. An element of the green project will be 58 new trees, including 12 silver lime trees on the traffic circle's central slab. Another 38 trees will be planted along Parade Square near Marszalkowska Street. The new greenery plantings there will cover an area of 6,600 square meters. This means that 2/3 of a hectare of concrete and asphalt will turn into a green, biologically active area.

In addition to trees, numerous plantings of shrubs and ornamental lasts are planned. Pots will disappear from the central island of the Dmowskiego traffic circle. In their place, in addition to the aforementioned lindens, there will be a colorful mosaic of shrubs, perennials and grasses. In total, we have designed as many as 33 plant species there. The entire project consists of 65 different species and varieties of plants, from trees to grasses located here.

Kacper Kępiński

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