The first question which I would like to ask you is: What would your dream city look like in terms of mobility?
“It is a city accessible to every user, to every person: from the age of 8 to 80, someone who has mobility problems, someone who can move easily or someone who is laden with luggage.”
So, you are talking about people with different mobility limitations, people with strollers, luggage, wheelchair users, who have no problem crossing thresholds or stairs?
“Well, this is in the context of an aging society – from 2030 on 25% of Poles will be 60 years old or older, which means that they will have problems with mobility. Apart from that, there are people with limited mobility due to a disease, but also parents with strollers and people luggage have to move around easily, just like those who had some kind of an accident.”
Where should such accessibility be ensured as a priority?
“At every interchange, at every location with heavy traffic related to passenger transfers. They include all stations within a metro or railway line but also all intersections with tram or bus traffic – so the typical interchanges. Due to the size of Warsaw, the most important means of transport was, is, and will be public transport. In the second place it should be the bicycle, in the third-place pedestrian traffic, and only at the very end, it should be a car. More than 70% of journeys in Warsaw are made by public transport, according to reports by private property managers.”
What steps need to be taken to pursue your vision of mobility which involves the accessibility of transportation and an increase in the number of people using public transport or bikes?
“This is mainly what we discussed at the beginning – we need to provide accessibility at interchanges so that we can switch between different means of transport. We should consider that pedestrians are also public transport passengers. If we consider this issue in terms of providing as many public transport journeys as possible with as little inconvenience, emission, and energy consumption as possible, a step to a dream city should, of course, be the development of the railway transport network. Sustainable urban planning, a transit-oriented development, is what would be needed in order to make Warsaw a dream city in terms of mobility. Places which may be well served by railway transport should be highly developed in order to maximize its potential, i.e. to increase the density of the city. It should for instance be possible to reach public transport within 400 to 600 meters, but at the same time to satisfy one’s basic needs – to take the child to a kindergarten, nursery, do the daily shopping and use other everyday services. Furthermore, one should have access to the services that we use less frequently – like a bookstore, a place of worship – within one kilometer. This is perfectly defined in many urban planning textbooks and simply needs to be implemented through spatial planning.”