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Greenery instead of paving - more often, but not consistently

Kuba Głaz
13 of September '22

More historic streets in Poznań will get new greenery and trees. The way is simple - just limit the privileges of drivers. However, the greening campaign is inconsistent. Some of the new developments suffer from a shortage of greenery, residents are fighting over old trees. A possible reason? Lack of vision and coordination.

The word "de-paving" is gaining career in Poznań . Strips of low greenery enriched with new trees are being built on the streets of historic districts. Most of the cases are transformations made in the last two years - in parallel with the introduction of a limited parking zone in the districts of Wilda, Lazarus and Jeżyce. The way is simple: drivers are no longer allowed to park diagonally on sidewalks, and the space thus regained is given back to pedestrians and new greenery. The pavements, which were previously difficult to cross, are now separated from the roadway and the parallel parking spaces on it.

Regardless of the completion of the parking zones, the de-paving continues - thanks to both the initiative of the authorities and the neighborhood councilors, who are pushing for more changes. Well-landscaped and well-maintained greenery is the work of the Greenery Department of the City Roads Administration, which for years - with talent and efficiency - has been taking care of the quality of street greenery (examples from the last 15 years can be seen here). Thus, work will soon begin on greening more streets in Lazarus: Wyspianski, Kanalowa, Stablewskiego and Karwowskiego. This will make them similar to one of the district's most important streets, Małeckiego, which has greatly benefited after greening and making parking more civilized.

Nowa zieleń i drzewa na ul. Małeckiego, Poznań Nowa zieleń i drzewa na ul. Małeckiego, Poznań

New greenery and trees on Małeckiego Street, Poznań - In place of the greenery, cars previously parked diagonally, taking up a significant part of the sidewalk

Photo: Jakub Głaz

where is the naturalist?

De-paving deserves appreciation, but at the same time residents are protesting more and more strongly against new urban developments, in which, greenery, yes - there is, but in insufficient quantity. It is not, admittedly, concretosis - as some people emotionally assess the situation, but - indeed, the projects could have been developed better. This applies both to representative places: the recently transformed part, Święty Marcin Street, Rynek Łzarski and Plac Kolegiacki, but also transport investments, such as the rebuilt Rataje traffic circle and the new part of Św. Wawrzyńca Street serving the expanding Jeżyce district. Also loud all the time is the issue of replacing old trees in 27 Grudnia Street with new specimens during the modernization of the city center (we wrote about it here).

Why this inconsistency? Much points to a lack of coordination of all activities related to greenery and the wider natural environment. Hence, more progressive departments and boards are able to flip the switch to green tracks, while others are operating in the old way. For at least seven years, some community activists and environmentalists have been calling for the creation of a position or unit to coordinate greenery and retention issues. A few months ago, the demand to create the function of a city naturalist was repeated by Aneta Mikolajczyk of the Zazieleń Poznań Coalition, but the authorities let these important ideas go by the wayside. And this is hardly due to procedural impotence, since last month Mayor Jacek Jaskowiak was able to appoint a new plenipotentiary - for "city branding."

Przestrzeń do odbrukowania i zazielenienia - ul. Wyspiańskiego, Poznań

Space to be decongested and greened - Wyspiańskiego Street, Poznań - A massive fence restored in the 1990s separates the street from Wilson Park. New greenery will appear in the street space.

Photo: Jakub Głaz

green connectors

The need for comprehensive solutions is recognized, fortunately, by designers from the City Urban Planning Studio. In the draft of the updated study of land use conditions and directions, they envisage a whole network of green connectors, which are to link green areas together into one coherent system. These connectors, in the form of green lanes, are supposed to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get around in the hot months and reduce the impact of urban heat islands. However, it's hard to say whether these progressive provisions of the Study will come to fruition. After all, someone should create a viable plan to put these intentions into practice, coordinate the entire project and keep an eye on the deadlines worked out. Without this, the city is once again in danger of acting piecemeal, which will not lead to the realization of a coherent concept, which, by the way, would be a great asset to the aforementioned "city brand."

Jakub Głaz

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