Trams may come to main train station

Several plans look at ways to improve getting out of Hlavní nádraží

Leaving Prague's main train station Praha hlavní nádraží may become easier. The city is considering a plan to build a new tram track into Vrchlického sady, the park in front of the station. City Hall should discuss the plan next month.

Currently it takes about five minutes to walk through the park to the nearest tram stop at Bolzanova Street at the edge of Vrchlického sady.

The plans under consideration will also help to ease traffic. The only trams now connecting Vinohrady to the city center are on Ječná Street. The Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) is considering five plans to better connect Vinohrady to the city center near the top of Wenceslas Square.

The favored plan takes trams through Vrchlického sady, a park that has a bad reputation for petty crime. Colloquially, the park is called Sherwood Forest because of the redistribution of wealth that occurs there, although the situation has been greatly improved in recent years. Putting a new track through the park with a stop directly at the train station would not only save time for travelers but also increase safety. The proposed new track would connect the station to the Vinohrady neighborhood.

There are still several factors to consider, though, according to the IPR. The ceiling of the Muzeum metro stop would have to be strengthened to support the impact of the tram traffic.

The Prague City Council is set to discuss the options in February. Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), in charge of transportation issues, favors the plan for a stop in front of the station. Where the track will lead, though, is still being evaluated by experts. One option is for it to connect to the current track that leads into Žižkov and Nové Město, and another option would go to Opletalova Street.

Green Party leader Matěj Stropnický, who is also chairman of the transportation committee, opposes the routes through the park, as it would interfere too much with a significant park in the city center. He favors developing plans that have already been set aside, such as running trams at a higher level on the top of the station's terminal hall. Dolínek, however, says the tracks will not destroy the park as they will be level with the ground.

Prague 1 opposes returning tram lines to Wenceslas Square via Opletalova Street, although trams historically ran through the square. It is possible to make such a route without the support of the city district, but it is much more difficult. City Hall, however, would like to avoid a confrontation with the district.

The city is also looking at more changes for the area. A better bus terminal is planned for the main station, and in the long run the Magistral highway that runs in front of both the National Museum and the main station may be adjusted. This would better integrate the museum with Wenceslas Square.

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