Have you noticed that over six meters of gaudy red and white railings have disappeared on Jan Želivský and Vinohradská streets these days? Adama Scheinherr, the deputy mayor for transport, immediately admitted to their removal. According to him, the municipality will continue this activity elsewhere. The capital relies on a new document that it had prepared by the Prague Institute for Planning and Development (IPR).
“The catalog of redundant railings is used to find out how many such obstacles we have in Prague. There are about fifty of them and they measure five thousand meters. And the first six hundred are gone,” says Scheinherr, adding: “Previously, in Prague, the most natural movement that exists, which is walking, was not thought of. The streets were full of obstacles and pointless plugs.’
The railings are said to be in the way
In the past, according to Scheinherr, fencing was put into the streets as a safety measure. It was not really known where they made sense and where they didn’t. Greater thought was lacking. According to Scheinherr, the application of technical and legislative requirements “for strength” is therefore often the cause of problems and illogicality in the capital.
“Individual types of movement should be complementary, not mutually exclusive. Every modification of public space should take into account pedestrians, cyclists, but also passengers in public transport and individual car traffic. People in the city have different transport needs, and the task of politicians is to ensure that they can fulfill them,” says Scheinherr.
Deník Metro managed to obtain a document from IPR, which the municipality relies on in its activities. It follows from it that the city planners were first given the task of selecting places from which the clandestines could be removed in the first phase without any other related measures. In other words, they cut themselves off and the problem is over.
“The guardrail can usually be removed in cases where its original purpose has passed, for example, a parking strip has been added in front of it, which is a sufficient barrier between the sidewalk and the road. Or if the guardrail prevents vehicles from moving to places they shouldn’t be. For example, demarcation of the parking area. Or when the fence is placed completely senselessly and recklessly for the use of public spaces,” the document reads.
According to the manual, the railing can also be designed in justified cases in a shape that corresponds to its location and function in the architecture of the given space. “And it can therefore be replaced by suitable architectural elements. Such as, for example, flower boxes, posts with chains and the like,” the document reads.
Children and fools
Transport Deputy Scheinherr promotes the removal of barriers on his Facebook by taking a picture of himself at the railing with a sander in hand.
However, as is the case not only on the domestic Internet, he was criticized. On his profile, for example, video game designer, screenwriter and director Daniel Vávra relied on it.
“Railways are usually around giant intersections and multi-lane roads to prevent children and idiots from running into the road and getting run over. I don’t see them as a problem at all. Their removal can logically only lead to an increase in accidents and injuries,” says Vávra.
User Pavlína Krásná shares a similar opinion. “I used to hate railings in the city, but since I move around the city with a small child, it gives me a greater sense of security,” writes Krásná. However, according to Scheinherr, who responds to her comment, this is a false sense of security. “Drivers drive faster along the guardrails, pedestrians are less attentive. And the railing is not everywhere,” responds Scheinherr.