Prague’s Vršovice High Line takes a step toward reality

The project to make a linear park along a former rail corridor is finally moving forward after delays.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 04.05.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 13.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague is one step closer to building a promenade between the Vršovice and Strašnice neighborhoods. The four-kilometer-long walkway will follow the route of a former rail corridor.

Prague Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Hřib announced on social media that the city has obtained a valid zoning decision for the construction of the Vršovice Railway Promenade and the surrounding linear park. The idea for the park was first announced at the end of 2020 but has been stalled since then.

“Now we just have to agree with the Railway Administration to acquire the land. Soon it will be possible to create a completely new recreation area full of greenery on the site of the former railway tracks from Vršovice to Zahradní Město. At the same time, there will also be a convenient pedestrian and bicycle connection of over four kilometers in length,” he said.

Not intended as a tourist attraction

Hřib says that the plan has often been compared to the High Line park in Manhattan, but he feels the Prague promenade will be much better.

“Unlike the High Line, our railway promenade will serve not only tourists but mainly the citizens of Prague. We are not making an Instagram attraction in the center, but a welcoming space in a place where people live,” he said.

“In addition, the Vršovice Railway Promenade will have a backbone transport function. There will be a four-meter separated cycle highway, a 3.5-meter wide pedestrian path, and parallel jogging paths. Such a generous allocation of space for non-motorized transport is unprecedented in our city,” he added.

He added that this was not just a route for getting place A to place B. “Part of the project will also be the transformation of the surroundings, which should be used to stop and enjoy leisure time. Here you will find viewpoints, refreshment stands, rest areas, parks, and space for organizing cultural events. The Vršovice Railway Promenade will therefore not only be for show but will become the living artery of our city,” he said.

Route of the planned Railway Promenade. Image: Praha 10
Route of the planned Railway Promenade. Image: Praha 10

Originally set to open in 2024

According to previous announcements about the promenade, some of the historical elements will be preserved. These include a stone underpass from the 19th century, a riveted bridge from 1918, a footbridge at the Strašnice train stop from the 1930s, and part of the platform from the second half of the 20th century.

The larger recreation places include an area at the Strašnice stop and a location near Eden, which has the potential to become similar to Karlín’s Přístav 18600.

The city announced in 2020 that they hoped to get zoning permission in 2021 and a building permit in 2022 so that the promenade could open in 2024. No new timeline has been announced, but a 2024 opening seems unlikely.

This won’t be the first walkway in Prague created on a former railway corridor. A cycle and pedestrian path along the side of Vítkov through the Old Vítkov Tunnel and into Krejcárek opened in 2010. A walkway linking the path to Karlín opened in 2018.

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