Letná's main streets may see major changes

Veletržní and Dukelských hrdinů are likely to be made more friendly

Two busy streets in Prague's Letná district are likely undergo a major renovation. Veletržní and Dukelských hrdinů streets could be made more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists and could also have more trees. Plans are still under development, however, and could change dramatically by the end of the year.

Traffic on these streets in Prague 7 has been reduced due to the opening of the Blanka Tunnel in September 2015, which has diverted many cars underground. The existing surface roads now are considered too wide and unwieldy, serving to divide rather than unite neighborhoods.

Veletržní and Dukelských hrdinů streets intersect in what is called the Letná Cross. The Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) is working on the conceptual study that will become the basis for a subsequent renovation of the streets planned for 2018. The changes would coincide with repairs to the tram lines between Milady Horákové and Strojnická streets on Dukelských hrdinů.

The goal is to make the streets into lively urban boulevards with cafes and shops, while at the same time making them safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský (Praha 7 sobě) said is is necessary to adjust the streets to meet the current reduced level of traffic since the Blanka Tunnel opened. After a year of operation of the tunnel, it is now possible to see what the traffic situation is.

Some temporary measures have already been made on the upper part of Veletržní but the ultimate plan should include a permanent bike lane for the entire length of the street. In the direction of Letenské náměstí there should be more trees lining the street, with parking spaces between the trees.

At the bottom of the street near Bubenská, sidewalks could be expanded and there could be a second row of trees. During the next decade, the former Praha-Bubny train station area at the end of Veletržní street should be developed. There is also a possibility that Veletržní street could be extended across the current rail yard to join Dělnická street in Holešovice.

The tram stop at Letenské náměstí should be redesigned, but the controversial supermarket in the middle of the square is likely to remain since it is private property and the city district is not in a position to force the owners to make changes to it. Local authorities can only try to negotiate.

Dukelských hrdinů should see changes to the tram stops to make them easier to reach from the sidewalks. Bike lines should be widened for people who are headed for Stomovka, a popular park at the end of the street. There should be one row of trees. The project will include part of Strojnická street, which will become two way and connect to underground parking for shopping center called Palác Stromovka, which is currently under construction.

The plans have taken into account public input. Local citizens in particular wanted more trees and better access to certain tram stops.

The final form of the plan should be finished by the IPR by the end of the year, and then it needs to be approved by City Hall. The budget has not been disclosed but it should be in the neighborhood of up to Kč 300 million.

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