Prague plans record investment in cycling

New paths plus storage and maintenance facilities are among the projects

Prague will spend a record Kč 121 million this year to support cycling infrastructure, according to a City Hall press release. New bike paths, stands, storage boxes and basic repair facilities should be created.

The city hopes to do more than just create new routes. It also wants to better integrate cycling into urban transit.

The popularity of cycling in Prague is growing, as measured by cycling counters. In 2018, some 4 million cyclists were counted, which is 2.5 percent more than in 2017.

This year, there are plans for cycling routes in the Cholupice - Dolní Břežany section, the Rokytka waterway and from the Vltava to Dolní Počernice, among others.

Furthermore, there will be renovations to the Prostřední cesta cycling trail near Koloděje, the trail route between Sedlec and Suchdol and the last part of the Zbraslav - Jarov cycle path.

Investment in cycling infrastructure hit a low of Kč 10 million in 2012, and had been relatively low compared to previous years until 2018.

Last year, Prague invested a then-record amount of Kč 73.4 million through the Technical Roadways Administration (TSK) into cycling infrastructure. This resulted in the cycle path from Běchovice to Horní Počernice, the route along the creek Košíkovský potok, the section between Újezd bad Lesy and Koloděje and others.

“In 2018, spending was about the same amount as the three previous years together. In addition to these capital expenditures, however, about Kč 11 million to Kč 15 million are spent each year on routine maintenance, road signs and other modifications,” Prague’s new cycling coordinator Pavel Polák said.

Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha Sobě), responsible for transport, said that cycling has an irreplaceable position in Prague. “We plan to invest in its infrastructure this year as well. Investment in five big investment cycling projects await us, and we will start on the first part of 68 important links to connect the capital with the Central Bohemian Region,” he said.

“We will also install bicycle stands and new pilot cycle boxes and covered cycle decks at the Klánovice train station,” he added.

There is more to cycling than just building paths, though. “Our main task is to improve the conditions for cyclists and to increase the safety of cycling in Prague That is why we are embarking on repairs and adjustments to important urban roads such as Vinohradská třída, Legerova, Koněvova, Karlovo náměstí and perhaps even Wenceslas Square, and preparing the next stages of the construction of the city ring road,” he said, adding that cycling had to be taken into account in all of these projects.

In 2009, the first 10 automatic counters were installed to monitor the development of cyclists in Prague. Last year, there were 27 in Prague and thanks to this it is possible to trace the most frequented cycling places and to plan further investments accordingly.

Some 3,951,737 cyclists passed by these counters last year. Most of the cyclists were counted at Podolské nábřeží, where a counting pole has been since last year monitoring cyclists as well as pedestrians.

The most cyclists and pedestrians were tallied in Podoli in October 2018, more than 70,000 people. Other popular locations are Modřany and Elsnicovo náměstí. Cycling data is complemented by the mobile application Cycling Prague, which in 2018 was downloaded by over 10,000 users.

Last year, almost 300 new bicycle stands were installed based on the requirements of the city districts. There are already 3,594 stands for more than 7,000 bikes. But parking capacities are still insufficient. Therefore, for 2019, for example, the construction of the pilot project KOLárna is planned. “It is a lockable shelter, where it will be possible to store several dozen bikes in multi-story stands. As these are modular elements, the capacity will depend on the expected demand in the location,” Jaroslav Mach, head of Transport Development Department of the City Hall, said.

“At the same time there will be space for atypical bikes and users will be able to recharge electric bikes. There will also be a pump and basic tools for bike service,” he added.

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