A footbridge to connect two of Prague’s currently trendiest districts, Holešovice and Karlín, is coming closer to becoming a reality. The bridge would support bicycle traffic and have a ramp down to Štvanice island, so people from both neighborhoods could have easy access to the island and to each other.
The city, according to the Public Procurement Journal, is preparing to give CZK 24.75 million for project planning to Marek Blanka, one of the architects of a design that was selected by the Prague Planning and Development Institute (IPR) in 2017. The other architect of the winning design was Petr Tej.
This figure does not include the actual construction, and no completion date has been announced. The project documentation is needed to get planning and construction permits, which can be a time-consuming process.
“A footbridge making Štvanice island accessible has been a dream of many Prague citizens for more than a hundred years. Now we are getting close to the goal,” Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský (Praha sobě) said.
People can currently access the island from the bridge Hlávkův most, though both ends of this bridge have heavy traffic, which makes its use by pedestrians or cyclists inconvenient. Since 2015, there has been a ferry linking Holešovice and Karlín, but it does not operate in the winter or when there are boating restrictions due to river conditions.
The bridge will span 38 meters between Karlín and Štvanice and 149 meters between Štvanice and Holešovice. On the Holešovice side of the Vltava, the footbridge on Bubenské nábřeží will be in front of the gates to Pražská tržnice (Prague Market), an area the city is also planning to revitalize into an area of trendy shops and cultural venues. It is also near the Bubny area, which will be developed into a new neighborhood.
On the Karlín side on Rohanské nábřeží, it will meet up with a cycle path, and be close to several new and planned housing and office developments. For cyclists, the planned bridge would enable a Žižkov – Karlín – Holešovice – Troja route, which cyclists could eventually follow north along the river and out of the city.
IPR said the new footbridge should provide comfortable and easy access with barrier-free boarding. Other important elements are requirements of flood protection and flow management.
IPR described the bridge concept as a spatial curve winding through the landscape and reacting smoothly to the terrain. “The concept of bridge construction responds humbly to the panorama of Prague, to the Holešovice and Karlín shores and to the winning urban design of the Štvanice island. … The bridge architecture uses minimalist sculptural morphology. The bridge is made of ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) with a glossy white marble surface,” IPR said.
This is not the first bridge for architect Blanka. He was also involved in the project for a new bridge in Litvínov and for a footbridge across the Lubina river in Příbor.
A previous competition for a design for a footbridge connecting the Prague 7 and Prague 8 districts was announced in 1999, and designs by architect Alena Šrámková were chosen. The floods of 2002 devastated the island, putting an end to any pre-2002 planning. When the idea came up again, so much had changed that the city administration in 2017 decided to have a new contest for a new design.