Prague increases budget for bike programs

The city will be spending close to Kč 100 million on routes and support

Prague City Hall has posted a list of optimistic plans for the upcoming bicycle season, despite concerns that the city is contemplating closing the historical center to bike traffic during business hours.

The ban, proposed by Prague 1, is still under review and it is not clear when or if it will take place. The measure would follow after a broad ban on Segways that took effect at the end of 2016. Bikes, electric bikes, scooters and mopeds have filled the void for tourists who don’t want to walk. People who rely on bikes for transportation oppose the measure.

Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) told a press conference that the ban proposed by Prague 1 was too broad, but that conditions on certain streets could be considered after current road work was completed. Now is not the right time, though, he added.

In a statement on the City Hall website, the city says that investments to support cycling are expected to amount to almost Kč 100 million this year. The city also plans to deal with bike sharing and bike parking.

“This year, a major increase in funding for cycling development in Prague was achieved. The interest in cycling around the city is constantly rising, and our job is to ensure the best conditions for a safe and comfortable ride. I am glad that this is happening,” Dolínek (ČSSD) said on the City Hall website.

Through the Technical Administration of Roadways (TSK), the city invested nearly Kč 33.2 million last year in projects to improve conditions for cyclists across the whole of Prague.

Another Kč 17.6 million has been provided to city districts to prepare or repair of surfaces or for the construction of new cycle paths.

In 2018, cycling will be supported by the well-established Zero Emission Prague (Čistou stopou Prahou) campaign. The city also celebrates the first year of the existence of a mobile application for cyclists called Na kole Praho. A new element is the I Ride as a Human (Jezdím jako člověk) campaign, which will start at the beginning of May. The goal is to increase mutual respect between cyclists and pedestrians. Dolínek said.

Important events for 2018 include the completion of the cycle path between Běchovice and Horní Počernice. There will be an extension of the cycle path along the former Modřany sugar factory.

The cycle path along the Košíkovský stream will be fully operational in the middle of the year. Linking the cycle path between Koloděj and Újezd nad Lesy will improve the conditions not only for cyclists but also for pedestrians, the city said.

Other investments are intended for the construction of cycling paths between Cholupice and Dolní Břežany as well as the route between Vesec and Kunratice. Following the example of other cities.

The city is also setting up rules for bike-sharing, including where to park the bikes. Poor condition bikes should be removed from use, and information for contacting the companies should be available to users. Operators should also be liable for damages related to their service.

The city is also interested in installing more bike racks and is seeking the necessary permits for them. The goal is to reduce bikes locked in unsuitable areas.

The mobile application Na kole Praho, which combines navigation and tips for cyclists, celebrates its first year. Over that time, more than 10,000 users downloaded it (8,787 Android and 2,938 iOS). In 2017, users in Prague and around the country traveled 74,000 trips totaling 859,000 kilometers. With a Google rating of 4.7, it ranks among the top-rated city apps in the world, according to City Hall.

Data from the app significantly contributed to the preparation and realization of new cycle routes on one-way streets. New features are planned for the app this year.

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