The Warsaw Smog Alarm summed up Rafai Trzaskovsky’s three-year presidency in terms of mobility and space. Activists assessed how the president delivered on his promises in terms of walking, cycling and public transportation. They also checked pre-election promises about streets and squares.

In the just-released report, the authors evaluate Rafai Trzaskovsky’s promises from 2018 when he ran for President of Warsaw. Declarations regarding transportation, as well as the space of streets and squares, formed an important part of his program at the time. This is what they took on the wallpaper. “In our report – which was prepared after the middle of President Rafai Trzaskowski’s term in office – we will focus on verifying the extent to which he delivers on his promises of city-wide mobility important for sustainable mobility – pedestrian and bicycle movement also as public transport. With changes in urban space” – they wrote .

The report is divided into sections related to pedestrians, bicycles, cars and public transportation. A separate chapter covers the urban space, i.e. streets, squares and local centres. In their assessment, the authors used the following scale: red “smiling” is negative, yellow – neutral, and green – positive.

Public transport: the most “red faces”

The largest number of red “faces” are found in the public transport segment. Promises of free public transportation for high school students and an older ticket adjustment for the new retirement age for women were evaluated negatively. Activists also highlighted the slow expansion of the P+R parking network, which, according to Rafał Trzaskowski’s announcements, would have surrounded Warsaw by 2021 and provide 8,000 parking spaces. There are currently two car parks under construction, at the railway stations of PKP Warszawa Jeziorki and PKP Warszawa Żerań, with a total of 375 parking spaces (and 166 bicycle spaces). “There are plans to build new ones – in Wesoła, Międzylesie, at the Bródno and Trocka metro stations as well as Karolin and Lazurowa, in Biaoka at the Winnica Junction – however, the lack of guaranteed funding precludes the possibility of their construction before the end of the term “- the authors of the report point out .

In addition, activists note that little has happened regarding the promised construction of a connector for the Centrum metro station and Śródmieście railway station. Only in April 2021 Metro Warszawskie signed a contract for the technical analysis of Mosul. However, there was a stagnation in talks between the city and the PLP. “According to Vice President Mikhail Olshevsky said in September 2021, the deadlock in the talks has been overcome, but there is no official information on the joint arrangements yet,” the report stated.

Unfulfilled promises regarding tram investments were also negatively evaluated. These include the tramway to Gocław, the line connecting Wilanów with Mokotów, Ochota and Wola, part to Zielona Białołęka and lines along Modlińska Street (only in October 2021 a tender for a technical and economic study was announced) and connecting the EU roundabout with the Wilanowska metro railway station. According to the authors of the report, the issue of the new line along Kasprzaka Street also looks bad. In the case of this investment, construction is scheduled for completion in 2023. At the beginning of October 2021, Tramoj Warszawski announced that the National Board of Appeal rejected the last seventh appeal in a tender announced over a year ago. This will allow the signing of a contract for the performance of works.

The report also noted that Trzaskowski failed to deliver on his promise regarding a dynamic information system for bus passengers – similar to the system that operates at many tram stops.

They pointed out that there is no Śródmieście . corridor

In green, the authors of the project evaluated the promises being made in connection with the purchase of new vehicles for buses and trams, as well as metro and SKM trains.

On the other hand, the promised investments related to the transportation of cars were evaluated in red. It’s about to close the downtown corridor – the section from the Waiterzna roundabout to the Sheva roundabout was due to open to traffic. As activists pointed out, in November 2019, Rafai Trzaskowski announced that he was shelving this investment until the budget situation improved. “This is one of the few new road investments that can satisfy proponents of motoring and sustainable transportation” – the report’s authors assess. “On the other hand, it could mean that a new road link could be opened, shortening the road by car in some ways. On the other hand, it might show that limiting vehicular traffic in the widely understood city center does not harm the transit districts, where there is an alternative in the form of Small corridor ”- they added.

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However, the unfulfilled promise to abolish the parking subscription fee for the first car in the family for Warsaw residents – taxpayers in Warsaw were not evaluated. There are no ads at the moment, and the city is gradually expanding the paid parking area.

They appreciated the new Warsaw Center

There are also many green “faces” in the report. There are a lot of them especially in the pedestrian segment. The authors positively evaluated the implementation of promises, such as the construction of slow-moving streets in Śródmieście, the transformation of the streets of Jasna, Szpitalna, Zgoda, Bracka, Chmielna, Złota (only in the scheme) and Pięć Rogów Square (under construction), as well as Krucza, according to the Town Hall plans, It will be converted to La Rambla in Barcelona with a park in the middle and a row of trees. As emphasized by the Warsaw Smog Alert in the report, all projects “assume a pedestrian-friendly space, and more forests with reduced vehicular traffic.” The authors are also happy to promise to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Vistula River.

They show little enthusiasm when accurately evaluating the implementation of bike investments. In this case, the report’s authors point to the study by Paweł Ziniewicz of the Zielone Mazowsze Association, which has been monitoring progress in the development of Warsaw’s bike network for years. As they note, in the study of the conditions and trends of spatial development of the capital in 2006, the main bicycle routes in central Warsaw were identified in 2006 – five along the north-south axis and four between east and west. To date, only two have been merged: from ul. Prosta over Świętokrzyski bridge to ul. Sokola and from the Gdaski Bridge along the Vistula Boulevards to the Ponatowski Bridge.

On the other hand, the authors of the report evaluated the absolute length of bicycle paths favorably in the Trzaskowski period. They estimated that in 2019 and 2020, a total of 86 kilometers were built, of which 49 are designated bike lanes. The remaining infrastructure is bike lanes and counter lanes, opposite traffic on one-way streets and, to a lesser extent, pedestrian and bicycle paths. At the same time, according to activists, the creation of a new bicycle infrastructure in the city is fraught with weaknesses. She points out that bike paths are often built at the expense of sidewalks or green spaces and are not sufficiently separated from sidewalks, resulting in conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, they accuse the city’s traffic engineer of not introducing an anti-bike cycle at the same time when defining cascading one-way streets, which – according to activists – is the cheapest and easiest way to create a new bicycle infrastructure.

Activists accuse Trzaskowski of failing to deliver on his promise to develop the Veturillo city bike system by constructing new stations. “Compared to 2019, the number of modular (300), electric (10) and (6) children’s stations remains unchanged in 2021. Meanwhile, in the bridging tender, ZDM resigned from all 31 previously funded stations from 49 to 32 The number of so-called care centers “- noted the authors of the report.

Regarding the implementation of promises related to changes in urban space, the authors of the report appreciated the continued transformation of downtown streets into city streets. However, they negatively evaluate activities related to the revitalization of Braga, which, according to the authors, were somehow “forgotten”. Promises regarding the modernization of Trzech Krzyży Square, Grunwaldzki Square, Bankowy Square, Zawiszy Square and Teatralny Square were not fulfilled.

“There are many places that have already changed”

‘Procedures are partial and inconsistent’

In the summary, the report’s authors wrote: “The trend publicly indicated by the president in urban mobility is positive, but actions taken to implement electoral promises are in many respects half-complete and inconsistent.” “It is hoped that some of the acceleration – which has appeared in the past six months – will be translated into greater dynamics of activities in the second half of the term. While the program of the new Warsaw Center continues, it is also necessary to undertake more intensive measures for sustainable mobility in other regions” – they stressed.

The report’s authors gave their personal assessment, writing that “the development of urban mobility in Warsaw is slow, and the distance to other European capitals is increasing rather than narrowing.”

Main image source: ZDM