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What will the area under the railroad flyovers in Krakow look like?

24 of January '20

A consequence of the modernization of the E30 railroad line between Krakow Główny and Ruda is the construction of an overpass between Kopernika and Miodowa streets in Krakow. The decommissioning of the former railroad embankment means freeing up space under the new engineering structure, which, as the designers from A2P2 architecture & planning emphasize, is comparable to the decommissioning of fortifications and the opening of land for new urban functions.

In October 2018, we announced the winners of the architecture andurban planning competition for the development of concepts for the development of new spaces created as a result of the modernization of Krakow's cross-city railroad line. The purpose of the competition was to obtain concepts and ideas for shaping the center of Krakow, helpful in determining the directions of spatial policy and development strategy, as well as conducting dialogue and social consultation. The main prize in the international two-stage competition "New Life Between Estakadas" was awarded by the jury to the proposal of the Dutch office VenhoevenCS for:

eminently original and forward-looking in the idea of creative transformation of a burdensome element of urban infrastructure - an above-ground agglomeration railroad route - into a resident-friendly means of public transport, creating opportunities to enrich the city with a new unquantifiable value, worthy of an epoch-making solution. The concept analogous to the first ring road of the Old Town around its walls and the park green belt surrounding the historic fabric (Planty Krakowskie) is a form of continuation of the idea, a timeless thought, which to this day is an unquestionable attribute, placing Krakow on the list of very attractive urban and architectural world metropolises. The green garden with its pedestrian routes and squares, elevated above the functional structure of the viaduct along the bypass of the historic railroad traction, opens unique views of the beautiful city and its silhouette from different directions of its visual perception.

1. nagroda, proj.:
Venhoeven c.s. Architekten B.V.

1st prize in the "New Life Between Estacades" competition, proj.:VenhoevenCS

vision: B1Design © VenhoevenCS

Following the competition, surveys, consultation meetings and - prepared by A2P2 architecture & planning - a series of participatory design workshops were conducted among Krakow residents. The main purpose of the workshops, organized on behalf of the Revitalization Department (Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the Krakow City Hall), was to define - together with residents and stakeholders - the resulting guidelines for the development of the area, which would bring together the knowledge gained during the earlier consultations and the competition, and to discuss possible options for ways to develop the area.

During consultations with residents, designers from A2P2 architecture & planning collected a number of comments on such issues as greenery in the area under the flyover, noise levels, the proposed bicycle route, and the organization of traffic and parking spaces. The extensive consultation report is available here.

Ola Kloc spoke with Monika Arczynska of A2P2 architecture & planning about the consultation process and the chances of developing new spaces between the flyovers:

Ola Kloc
: What do you think is most important for the development of the area?

Monika Arczynska: The most important thing for the development of this area is the agreement between the city and PKP on how to make the land under the flyover available and manage it. The importance of the new inter-district connections created by the removal of the embankment is most important and outweighs the technical issues, in addition, of course, to inspections of the condition of the structure. For a full understanding of the new opportunities that these connections bring, especially in the context of the changes that will take place in the Wesoła district after the relocation of the academic hospital, time is also needed, changing patterns of movement around the city and determining new routes both east-westand along the railroad. The key, however, is to think of the realized Grzegórzki railway station as one of the most important points and traffic generators on the map of Downtown Krakow.

: Greenery, silence and parking spaces - these are among the main demands of residents, how do you assess the chances of their realization?

Monika: Greenery and silence will be quite difficult to achieve due to traffic noise from trains with increased frequency compared to today's situation, and shading under the flyover. However, this desire of the residents is most understandable - they have lost the wooded embankment, which was also an acoustic buffer. However, in the northern part of the flyover, near Blich and Kopernika Streets and near St. Nicholas Church, there is enough space for an attractive green square. Parking spaces in this location, on the other hand, are a rather debatable idea - their placement under the flyover may impose a very "backstreet" character on the place and make it neither pleasant nor safe. Residents disagreed about such use and also pointed out places where they think parking cars should definitely not appear.

: How do you manage to encourage city residents to participate in the consultations?

Monica: The flyover topic was quite "hot", so our main task was to reach residents with information about the consultation. Our experience allows us to match the method of reaching residents to the topic and location. There is no single effective method - in the case of the Krakow project, first of all, we personally visited all the institutional stakeholders of the project, asking them to pass the information on. We were greatly assisted by Krakow Revitalization, the Grzegórzki District Council and local activists and councilors, posting announcements on their social media and supporting us throughout the process.
Information was also provided to residents during mass at St. Nicholas Parish (posters and flyers were also placed there), and we hung informational posters in the neighborhood and distributed 1,200 flyers.

: Thank you for the interview!

interviewed by

Illustrations courtesy of VenhoevenCS studio

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