Prague’s Karlovo náměstí becomes more pedestrian-friendly with new crosswalks

The renovations are part of a larger project to make the Prague square more accessible; pedestrians no longer need to go underground to cross the street

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 01.09.2020 12:44 (updated on 07.10.2020)

New crosswalks have been completed at Karlovo náměstí, the largest square not only Prague but the entire Czech Republic. Previously, people had go under the street using the metro lobby or jaywalk through tram stops to cross at the intersection with Resslova Street.

The first stage of adjustments to the streets and sidewalks around the square was finished a few days early by the city’s Technical Roadway Administration (TSK) on August 27. The projected date had been August 31.

“We completed the much-needed reconstruction of the intersection of Resslova Street and Karlovo náměstí. … Our largest square in Prague has been a disgrace for quite some time, and it finally doesn’t force us to go into the subway when we just need to get from one side of the street to the other,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě), responsible for transport, said on Facebook.

“For me as a politician, it is completely natural to maximally support the most natural movement around the city, which is walking. Until now, drivers in cars and passengers in public transport have played the biggest role at Karlovo náměstí. Today, pedestrians also applied for their place in the sun, literally — goodbye dark underpasses! And that’s the way it should be. We simply want to remove the maximum amount of barriers that the city has long unnecessarily put in people’s way,” he said.

In a press release, Scheinherr said the railings at the intersection had been like a “punch in the eye,” and the new intersection was now safer and was “a public space that corresponds to the 21st century.”

The construction work began in mid-July.

According to TSK, the construction work to modify the corners of the intersections included new barrier-free crossings for pedestrians with dividing islands. Unnecessary railings were removed and the overall width of the traffic area was adjusted together with the integration of bicycle traffic. Part of the construction included the drainage modification and new traffic signs.

Three pedestrian crossings have been newly created at Karlovo náměstí at the intersection with Resslova Street. People can now cross on the surface along the west side of the square. A new crossing was also created at the junction from the Charles Square office building to the tram stop. The third crossing is on the west side of Ječná Street. The railing that divides the park has partially disappeared from the square. The railings along Resslova Street have been preserved.

In 2013, the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha) proposed rebuilding most of the streets around the square. The tram line, adjacent sidewalks and boarding islands were renovated in 2015.

In the long term, Karlovo náměstí will undergo a large renovation. A proposal for the park’s revitalization was selected in 2018 after a competition. Renovation work could begin in late 2022 or 2023, and take two years.

karlovo namesti
Visualization of renovations to Karlovo náměstí / via IPR Praha

The area beneath the square could also become a stop on a planned commuter rail system linking the city center to the suburbs.

Karlovo náměstí was part of the original 1348 plan for the New Town (Nové Město) district, envisioned by Emperor Charles IV. He had planned for it to be the main square of the district, but it never proved to be popular.