Walking Visionaries Award

Green Mazovia was awarded a Walking Visionaries Award at the 2015 Walk21 Conference in Vienna for our efforts to "Free pedestrians from the dungeons", i.e. ensure the possibility of crossing streets at ground level rather than having to make use of underpasses.

Conference presentation

Below is our presentation from the conference outlining our efforts over the past couple of years.

Not all Warsaw underpasses are this murky, but they always make walking require more effort.

In the 1970s they were considered to be an excellent solution.

Currently, the official city transport strategy says they should be replaced by ground-level crossings.

In practice, however, city officials are usually against new zebra crossings and additional actions are required.

One example is a crossing linking the official center of Warsaw with Warsaw Central railway station. A crossing identified in the local zoning plan.

As the city focused on fining pedestrians crossing the street, we issued a fine to the mayor.

The snowmen said they don't want to disappear like the crossing when spring comes. "Snowman" also means "buffoon" in Polish.

It took a while, but the crossing was finally officially transformed into a permanent element of the cityscape.

While the second metro line was being built in the city center, pedestrians were treated as a superfluous element of traffic.

Having to cross three arms of an intersection to get to the other side of the street sometimes lengthened a trip by up to 10 minutes.

Zebras in turn symbolise zebra crossings.

Unfortunately this time demonstrations didn't suffice - pedestrians are still condemned to the dungeons. In this case, this usually means they try to get across as they can.

The center of Warsaw is a huge sea of asphalt with pedestrian underpasses.

We presented how this could change to make both walking and interchanges easier.

A while later the cities declared that this will change. This has not yet happened but is being taken into account in local zoning plans.

The route suggested by the city road authority as an attractive stair-free alternative meant walking an additional 700 meters to get to the other side of the street. The infographic became quite popular and the city relatively rapidly decided to provide a permanent ground-level crossing.

Another relict of the 1970s, the intersection next to Warsaw Central station does not even have any lifts.

The authorities were against ground-level crossings, arguing that this would mean lower profits for the tenants of underground shops.

They also explained that providing zebra crossings is a very complicated affair. We tried to show that it isn't that hard to do [zobacz >>>].

After the demonstration, the vice-mayor declared that crossings will soon be provided. Towards the end of 2015 the city officially began designing them.

Hopefully, we'll soon be able to get across the street without police assistance.