City approves plan for Vinohradská

A long section of the street will get new tram tracks plus trees and benches

Prague City Councilors on Tuesday approved a design concept for redeveloping the street Vinohradská třída.

Changes, including rebuilt tram tracks, will cost some Kč 548 million-610 million. The section of the street involved runs from the streets Legerova to Jana Želivského, and has sections in Prague 2 and Prague 3. Work should be launched in the second half of 2018 and should be finished by the end of 2020.

The changes will not only involve transportation changes but also improve the quality of public space.

“The concept study for Vinohradská also counts on a new arrangement of tram stops, building new pedestrian crossings and ensuring greater [barrier free] accessibility,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petra Kolinska (SZ / Three-Party Coalition) told the media. The plan calls for new benches, sidewalk restoration and 85 new trees.

The plan has been available to the public since last year, and there was an opportunity for public input.

“As a key high street, Vinohradská provides a unique and distinctive atmosphere, as well as many social, cultural and economic values. Renovation of the tram track, together with other planned investments, offers a unique opportunity to further strengthen the existing qualities and improve places and street elements of unsatisfactory design. … At the same time, the city wants to modify the whole street,” the Prague Institute for Planning and Development (IPR) said on its website.

The Prague Transport Company (DPP) will pay some Kč 220 million. New furniture such as benches will cost the city about Kč 11 million, new trees Kč 7 million crowns and new lamps Kč 18 million.

The plan, however, stops short of improving the connection between Wenceslas Square and Vinohradská Street, as separate plans for Wenceslas Square are under consideration. Extending a tram line from Vinohradská Street to Wenceslas Square is also under consideration, but again not part of the current plan. Plans to redevelop náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad, which connects to Vinohradská Street, are also a separate issue.

The project was not put up for an architectural competition since its was more in the nature of a series of interconnected renovations than a new project. The main aim was to coordinate the renovations so the same section of street is not dug up repeatedly by different city agencies and developers.

The current name of the street reflects that the neighborhood long ago was home to vineyards. Since the mid-19th century, though, it was developed as a residential area. The name Vinohradská is not the original one.

At first it was Říčanská, followed in 1873 by Černokostelecká. Both names referred to towns in the direction of the street.

From 1884 to 1920 it was Jungmannova, named for a Czech writer and philosopher. Then it was Fochova until 1940, named for a French field marshal in World War I. This was followed by Schwerinova until 1945, for a Prussian officer. In 1945–46 it was back to Fochova briefly and then for the next 20 years it was Stalinova, after the Soviet dictator.

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