Footbridge, underpass may link train station to Prague 2 and 3

Pedestrians have long called for easier and safer access to Praha hlavní nádraží

Prague's main train station, Praha hlavní nádraží, has long been difficult to reach from Žižkov and Vinohrady. That may change, as the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) is planning to seek permission to build an underpass and a pedestrian bridge. The project has been under negotiation for years. Construction could begin in 2018 or 2019, and would cost some Kč 100 million to Kč 300 million.

People arriving at the main train station currently have no option but to walk through a park called Vrchlického sady, which until recently was known colloquially as Sherwood Forest due to the formerly high crime rate there. Likewise, people wanting to walk across town have found the station blocking their way and forcing a long detour.

SŽDC spokesman Marek Illiaš said that within three months the SŽDC will ask for permission to extend an existing underpass so it allows access to and from the station from náměstí Winstona Churchilla, which is next to University of Economics, Prague (VŠE) in Prague 3–Žižkov. The footbridge will go in the opposite direction alongside the highway into Vinohradská třída in Prague 2–Vinohrady.

"So far, it is clear that the underpass should be extended under the entire main station, and the mouth should be in the area of Italská Street in a large atrium,” Illiaš told the media.

“At the same time, we also want to build a footbridge that would run parallel to the expressway toward the city center and have its end next to the building called Nad Muzeem, where a pedestrian could connect to the sidewalks toward Vinohradská třída,” Illiaš added.

Prague 3 Mayor Vladislava Hujová previously mentioned a plan for an even longer tunnel, ending at Seifertova Street, but there were problems with acquiring the proper access.

The tunnel would serve a practical purpose as some VŠE students currently make a shortcut across dangerous train tracks to avoid the long walk around the station so they can reach the school, even though the shortcut is not legal. Students have long sought a safer route through the station to school.

On the other side, some people walk along the narrow curb next to the highway to get from the area behind the National Museum to the train station. This puts them in risk of being hit by fast-moving cars.

The SŽDC sent a letter at the end of 2015 to Prague 2 and 3 stating that a more detailed plan could be expected soon.

Prague 3 Deputy Mayor Lucie Vítkovská and Prague 2 Deputy Mayor Václav Vondrášek both said their districts supported the ideas as they would lead to increased pedestrian safety.

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