Dlouhá businesses propose 10 rules

An association of club and bar owners wants to work with the city on noise

Businessmen from Prague’s Dlouhá Street and the surrounding area have offered a Decalogue Against a Street Party to help deal with the negative night phenomena.

The 10 points call for a better working relationship with the Municipal Police, club-supported patrols helping to keep order and other measures to help minimize the negative effects of entertainment and tourists.

The members of the Association for Cultural and Civic Co-existence in Old Town (SOHO Prague), made up of club, bar and restaurant operators in the Dlouhá area, are responding to efforts by some representatives of Prague 1 and politicians at Prague City Hall to enforce a joint closing time for all similar operations.

“We believe that our proposal is better than a blanket closing hour in all respects. Conversely, as many European cities have shown, similar measures will significantly increase all negative phenomena, and the system will therefore gradually be abandoned,” Jan Mulač, a representative of SOHO Prague, said in a press release.

“In fact, [with a closing time] there is a huge number of people coming out of the premises at the same time and staying on the streets. It is then difficult to regulate their movement and noise,” he added.

The city tried out a plan to close Dlouhá and surrounding streets to automobile traffic last weekend to prevent people from arriving and leaving by taxis or car services.

According to SOHO Prague, the regulation backfired as people spent much more time on the streets because they were more attractive without cars. In addition, the noise problem and other negative phenomena were transferred to the surrounding streets where taxi drivers were waiting for their clients. The biggest negative impact was that club and bar visitors were forced to walk a few hundred meters on their way out of the premises, consuming cheap alcohol along the way.

Businesses in Dlouhá Street have wanted to solve the situation for a long time. They would like to sign the Decalogue Against a Street Party as a memorandum of cooperation with the Prague 1 Town Hall and the city.

“We are constructive and we want to agree with the residents who live in the vicinity of Dlouhá Street and with the Town Hall of Prague 1 and the Municipality on a versatile solution. We do not want some politicians to put unnecessary barriers between entrepreneurs and local residents. We are convinced that our 10 proposals to improve the situation will bring a significantly more positive effect than bans and regulations,” SOHO Prague member Tomáš Tesner said.

SOHO Prague has prepared an analysis of the impact of the upcoming regulations and wants to provide it to all representatives of the City of Prague and the Prague 1 district.

According to the authors at the Center for Market Analysis, the economic impact concerns more than one street in the center, and has far-reaching consequences for the entire capital.

Decalogue Against a Street Party

1. Ensure compliance with applicable legislation
Decrees and regulations designed to reduce the noise in the streets of the Old Town have been adopted in recent years. But these measures are toothless when they are not consistently enforced. Association representatives are ready to provide at least two workers at their own expense who will be constantly alerting noisy individuals of the need for peace and quiet at night. It is essential that these workers have contacts with both the Municipal Police and the Czech Police, who would work closely with them.

2. Prohibition of pub crawls
The processions of up to several dozen foreign tourists traveling through businesses and clubs in the Old Town at night are a major cause of noise. SOHO Prague members have agreed to ban the entry of these pub crawl groups into their businesses, regardless of financial losses. The association seeks a total ban on this night form of tourism.

3. Club admission
SOHO Prague companies have agreed to introduce a single-rate night ticket to significantly reduce movement of visitors between clubs. By doing so, unsolicited traffic in the streets of the Old Town should be reduced by up to 70 percent. At the same time, the proceeds from the entrance fee will be taxed at 20 percent, which will be another contribution to the city budget.

4. Greater awareness among foreign tourists
Foreign tourists must be sufficiently informed about the ban on drinking alcohol in public spaces, the set hours for night peace and especially on sanctions in case of misconduct. There must be many more bilingual signs in the streets of the Old Town. The association also suggests that, in cooperation with the City of Prague and the Prague 1 district, people be informed by leaflets at the airport and other transportation hubs. Club operators will inform patrons about decrees and regulations in the clubs through leaflets.

5. Municipal Police and neighborhood watch
The association proposes to build police guard posts, for example at the corner of Dlouhá 9 and Kozí 2 streets. A neighborhood watch will be based on experience from Western European capitals. The basic precondition is a high level of communication and trust between the population and the municipality. As an association, we do not oppose providing contributions to the financial remuneration of these workers.

6. Restrictions on the sale of alcohol in convenience stores
SOHO Prague considers the sale of alcohol in convenience stores as a key issue and one of the causes of noise in the streets during the night hours. The noisiest individuals are not typical business patrons but people who have the unlimited opportunity to buy alcohol throughout the night and then move through the streets or to short-term rented flats, where local residents are most disturbed.

7. Regulation of taxis
Taxis are one of the major sources of night noise in Old Town streets. The association wants to open a discussion on granting special entry permits to taxis. Thanks to these monthly entry cards, it would be possible to reduce the number of taxis on Old Town streets, and drivers’ behavior could be better controlled. Again, increased activity by the Municipal Police is necessary, which must strictly enforce the laws that apply to taxis in Old Town, especially about standing at intersections, at pedestrian crossings, at designated places for disabled citizens and at blue zones for residents.

8. Resident compensation
SOHO Prague proposes to launch a debate on the idea of compensation contributions from businesses for local residents. Compensation may take the form of noise-reduction measures, vouchers for consumption in guest establishments, long-term discounts, as well as direct funds for housing.

9. Compliance with noise limits
SOHO Prague members are committed to unconditionally adhering to noise standards while at the same time exerting organized pressure on businesses that violate such standards.

10. Regulation or prohibition of beer bikes
The last and no less important source of noise pollution are the so-called beer bikes, which, in addition to noise, also cause traffic jams. It is imperative that Prague 1 immediately accepts a decree regulating or completely prohibiting these beer bicycles with drunken crews.

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