A new exit closer to Old Town Square may open on the Staroměstská stop of Prague’s Metro A line. An entrance leading to what is now called náměstí Franze Kafky was part of the original concept, but never built. With the planned renovation of nearby Mariánské náměstí into a pedestrian zone, the idea of a new exit nearby is again being discussed.
When the Staroměstská station opened on August 12, 1978, it had only three exits on Kaprova Street, near what’s now náměstí Jana Palacha.
Plans were made in 1987 to add a new eastern vestibule, and construction was to take eight years. The plan was never implemented due the Velvet Revolution. After 1989, the high cost of building the new exit took it off the list of priorities. It was examined again in the late 1990s, and again postponed due to cost.
Those plans may now be revisited. The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) are preparing a proposal to finally build the eastern exit right around the corner from both Old Town Square and Mariánské náměstí. Talks are in early stages, though.
“There will be a concept that will be submitted to the City Council for debate,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague) said, according to press reports.
A pressure-tight doorway at the eastern side of the station was built, and is now hidden behind a wall, according to the technical drawings from when the station was built. This was supposed to lead to an escalator and a vestibule, and finally an exit on the side of the Church of St Nicholas.
IPR architect Šimon Jiráček said the new study will focus on the feasibility of three basic options: building only an elevator, building an elevator with a vestibule, and creating a full exit.
Náměstí Franze Kafky will be included in the study for revitalizing Mariánské náměstí by closing it to traffic. This will help link buildings like Clam-Gallas Palace, the Klementinum, and the City Library into one large zone with Old Town Square. The transformation of Mariánské náměstí should take two years. Construction of the metro exit will take much longer.
The Staroměstská metro stop, designed by architect Lubomír Hanel, is lined with red-and-green bubble-in-a-sqaure aluminum moldings combined with granite and limestone surfaces. A mosaic of Victorious February by Martin Sladký is now hidden behind a magazine stand in the western vestibule.
In 2014, cable news station CNN ranked it among the most beautiful stations in Europe, and praised the look of the Metro A line in general.
This is not the only proposal concerning public transit. Plans for the Metro D line are going forward, and in the long term a rail connection to Václav Havel Airport Prague is planned. Trams will also return to Wenceslas Square and the city is exploring electric buses as an emissions-free option.