Prague eyes more public seating

The number of places with seats and benches should more than double

Prague will continue in its efforts to become a friendly city by putting more chairs and tables in public spaces. Currently they are in eight locations with 340 chairs and 90 tables, and Prague City Hall is contemplating 10 to 15 more locations for public furniture.

Some 220,000 people used them last year, according to the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR).

The IPR intends to seeks to expand what it calls an already successful project, and will be seeking input from the general public in the form of an open call for suggestions. From the suggestions it will select 10 to 15 new locations. The IPR and the city will jointly decide in March on where to place them.

The IPR also says that agreements should be reached with local restaurants regarding the use of bathrooms by the public.

The original plans also called for grills and cycle stands, but the IPR has backed away from that. Fences or standing panels are still contemplated for public artwork exhibitions.

People tend to use the seats and tables for 15 minutes on average, but it varies from place to place.

Last year, some 130,000 people are estimated to have used the seats and tables in Malostranské náměstí, and they tended to sit for shorter times than at other places. In the plaza of the National Theatre, now called náměstí Václava Havla, some 32,000 people stopped to sit and relax. Letná saw some 27,500 people according to IPR figures.

Malostranské náměstí was converted from a parking lot into a pedestrian area in July 2016, and eventually should be rebuilt into a more inviting open plaza, though plans are still under debate over how to limit traffic and where to put amenities such as a fountain and possible a statue that had been there in the 19th and early 20th century.

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