Vítkov Hill to be revitalized

Plans include a cafe with a view, a promenade and an outdoor theater

Prague has plans to revitalize Vítkov Hill with new paths, an observation deck, a promenade and an amphitheater. A rail station and an elevator are also possibilities, bit less certain. Prague is currently studying the possibilities, and the plans are being presented to Prague 3 and Prague 8 for public comment. It could take up to five years to implement the proposals.

The city is looking at several innovations for the wooded hill that separates Prague's Žižkov and Karlín districts. Currently the hill is home to the National Memorial with a statue of Jan Žižka, and Army Museum Žižkov. The city hopes to make the hill park more popular.

Prague wants to build a path on the hill's southern slope that would run from under a football field and join with a bike path. The path would takes people to the top of the hill, where there would be a new lookout café. The café would face south and have a view of Žižkov and Vinohrady. A gardening firm would have to move to make space for the café. A new connecting path to the café would go from Tachovské náměstí.

The promenade would be made on the main road of Vítkov Hill. Currently the main road looks more like a highway. The plan is to turn it into a pedestrian zone with sidewalks, tree-lines paths and water features. The parking lot near the National Monument, which currently can be used only with permission, would shrink. Part of it would be covered with greenery and more benches.

Some of the land in question belongs to Czech Railways, which has tracks on one side of the hill. Czech Railways confirms that it is in discussions about the sale of nonessential land but it cannot disclose details.

The study also counts on a new railway station, which Prague 8 has been asking for. It would serve residents of Karlín. The station would be near Thámova Street, and steps could lead up to the top of the hill and down into Karlín. There would be an underpass under the rail tracks. The Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) still has to decide if the new stop would be beneficial, as it is already relatively easy to get to the Main Train Station (Praha hlavní nádraží) via tram or metro from Karlín. An overpass would have to be very high due to the electrified tracks, and a ramp would be required to make it barrier free.

Another idea being considered is an elevator to the top of the hill, but it would not happen in the short term, as it would be expensive and also require a lot of planning.

Access to Vítkov Hill from Karlín is currently limited. Residents can enter the hill near Krejcárek, but the way to the center of the hill is made difficult by tracks and a steep slope. The easiest way to enter from Karlín currently is to go through the Žižkov tunnel and enter from the Žižkov side at Tachovské náměstí.

The city now has to discuss the study with the Monument Protection Department. Project preparation is planned for next year, as is discussion of zoning and building permits for the initial phases. Actual construction work could begin in 2018.

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