Prague wants to reduce cars in Malá Strana

In the long run, much of the city center could be closed to most traffic

Prague City Hall is considering a plan that would limit cars in Malá Strana and block them in Pohořelec, near Prague Castle.

Currently, Malostranské náměstí sees traffic from 11,000 cars a day, as measured by municipal traffic experts. Last year, though, the parking lot at the square was turned into a pedestrian area and the long-term plan is to rebuild the lower part of the square completely to make it friendlier to pedestrians.

As part of those changes, the city is now considering putting limits on car traffic near the square, according to Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Trojkoalice/Green). The idea was discussed in the City Council and a relevant document should be submitted in the coming weeks.

Limiting cars from the square will force drivers to use other routes, though, such as Smetanovo nábřeží, Strahov and the Magistrála highway.

The limits of traffic will not change the planned redesign of the square. Lanes will still be kept for cars and trams. Traffic will not be combined, with cars and trams in the same lane. Even with reduced traffic the city does not consider this a good idea, according to Kolínská. Prague 1 authorities also agree. Traffic would be limited from Újezd to Malostranské náměstí under the envisioned plan.

Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) said at a recent municipal transport committee meeting that the city will offer proposals within three months.

In opposition to the changes, City Councilor Michal Hašek (ANO) said that drivers for a year have been getting used to using the Blanka Tunnel, and the route through Malostranské náměstí feeds to it.

So far, there are no plans to limit traffic on the other side of the river opposite Malá Strana. Officials have been calling for reduced traffic on Smetanovo nábřeží, but it is not on the agenda for the next year and a half. It likely won't occur until the long-delayed Prague Ring Road is completed to allow for diverting traffic from the city. The city could then restrict traffic in the historical area to local residents and increase reliance on public transportation.

The idea of a ban on cars in Pohořelec is still in its infancy, Dolínek said. Pohořelec is located near Strahov Monastery and the historical area in front of Prague Castle.

The Ministry of Defense has buildings in the Pohořelec area, and other ministries are in the area as well. Reducing traffic would help to increase security. Cars would be diverted to a four-lane road between tram tracks. Traffic routes would be changed all the way back to Chotkovy sady.

Renovation is currently taking place on Keplerova Street, which runs into Pohořelec, and a traffic circle is planned for Myslbekova Street, according to Prague 6 spokesman Martin Churavý.

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