Prague City Council wants route changes on Metro D

Where the long-planned fourth metro line will go after the first phase is unclear

The route of the planned Metro D line is still being changed, even though the long-delayed construction is set to finally start soon.

The first section of the Metro D will lead from Pankrác to Písnice. But where it will go from Pankrác is still contested. The original plan called for it to stop at náměstí Míru, where it would meet with the A line.

The Metro D line is intended to improve the connection between the city center and the southern part of the city, which is currently linked mostly by buses and some trams. Trains on the Metro D line will operate without a driver.

The Prague City Council on May 22 ordered the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) to begin work on changing the land use plan to allow for the further construction of the Metro D line from náměstí Míru to Žižkov and Vysočany.

Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Greens) said the exact route or where stops will be, has not yet been decided. There is also still an option that turns to náměstí Republiky.

The route will be covered both in the current and the new Metropolitan Plan.

“We have asked the IPR to start a change in the land use plan to run the Metro D line north of the Náměstí Míru station. At the same time, we asked the IPR to investigate a further line north of the Vysočanská metro station on the B line. We consider it important to stabilize the route, especially in order to avoid problems with the land purchase,” Kolínská said.

Acquiring land for the Metro D line has been a major cause of delays.

The requested route extension is included in the land use plan only as a territorial reservation, and in the new Metropolitan plan the route terminates at náměstí Republiky.

In the past, the IPR developed an analysis that said it was more optimal to set the route from Vinohrady to náměstí Republiky.

“There are more options. … Going through náměstí Republiky has its advantages and disadvantages. It remains open,” Kolínská said.

The IPR should also explore the possibility of extending the route from Vysočany further north to Prosek, where it would be connected to line C, Kolínská added.

Work on Metro D should start in 2019, following a survey this year. The first section to be built is from Depo Písnice to Pankrác. Then the next phase should be from Pankrác to náměstí Míru.

The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) is now dealing with the purchase of land between Pankrác and Písnice.

The Metro D line has faced numerous delays. Construction was originally supposed to start in 2010. There was a petition in 2016 to change the approved designs for the stations between Pankrác to Písnice because the designs are already outdated, and do not reflect current trends in mass transit.

Even at the time they were made, they used ideas from the 1990s and not the 2000s, according to the petitioners. The stations were designed in 2009 by eight architects working for the construction firm Metroprojekt.

The city, though, largely rejected the petition as any significant changes would require the permit process to start over again, which could add years of further delays. Only cosmetic changes can be made, and the city is exploring adding some unified design elements to the route.

Design changes can still be made to the Náměstí Míru and Náměstí Bratří Synků stations, as they do not yet have their final permits.

Poor planning of metro stations has been an issue before. Nádraží Veleslavín, one of the new stations on the Metro A line that opened in April 2015, connects with a bus that goes to the airport. The station, however, originally lacked an escalator going from the street to the vestibule so people had to carry their luggage up the steps.

The city employed porters to carry suitcases for free to help people.

The oversight made international headlines and has been mentioned on travel websites as an example of not only poor planning, but an inflexible system that does not allow for mistakes to be corrected before they are made.

The escalators finally opened in April 2018.

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