Rare are those meetings where, thanks to a unique and broad mix of competences, complex issues are brought closer towards a sustainable solution. On March 6th when Warsaw’s Public Roads Authority and the Cyclurban project organized a public consultation workshop on conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists this could be experienced.
It is worth to notice that only a couple of years ago, despite very intensive efforts to change the situation of cyclists, Warsaw had a limited cycling infrastructure that was not forming a coherent network. In recent years this changed. Urban cyclists have become a common sight – especially in the office districts. Indeed bike traffic reached a level where spatial conflicts not only between cyclists and cars but also with other non-motorized users arose.
The urgent need to address this situation was identified within the Cyclurban project and several key actions were planned. One of them is public consultation.
Represented in the workshop were citizens who are not using the bicycle together with active cyclists, cycling activists, and architects – with both municipal and commercial background. Four key intersections were presented during the workshops. After a short presentation of current measurement results, the identified conflicts and statistical data, the task groups started to discuss scenarios that could bring improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.
Despite tough limitations caused by a road law that still does not fully recognize the bicycle’s potential as a means of transport, interesting solutions were developed. One of the most common problems identified is an intersection design with pedestrian and bicycle lane crossings far away from the intersection itself. This creates bends in bicycle lanes that are conflicting with pedestrian streams – in such situations conflicts are inevitable.
Another key finding underlines the role of architects regarding a common attitude of investors that tend to build on every square centimeter available. This can be observed near Waryńskiego/Nowowiejska intersection where simply no space is left for bicycle traffic. This is also due to the fact that bus lines terminate here and limit the available space. A potential solution would be to place a wide bicycle road in the middle of the street rather than along pedestrian streams. The feasibility of such an unusual solution will be assessed.
With the Public Roads Authority and the City Architecture Board devoted to non-motorized traffic, there is hope that the implemented solutions will be successful in bringing the interests of cyclists and pedestrians together to gain safety for both groups using the space.