Prague warns of icy hazards as city is slow to clear snow

Members of the public have deemed Prague’s response to the weekend snowfall as insufficient, citing fears over safety due to still-icy sidewalks. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.12.2023 14:23:00 (updated on 07.12.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

After days of snow and sub-freezing temperatures in Prague, the current slight warming poses an increased risk of uncontrolled melting snow and ice falling from roofs onto sidewalks, creating hazardous situations.

Prague City Hall has already taken steps to secure its buildings including the closure of Škoda Palace's entrance from Charvátova Street which has been closed until further notice, and is now warning private owners to assess building conditions, remove melting snow from roofs, and warn pedestrians.

The city is also asking residents and visitors to exercise extreme caution, avoid risky areas, and respect temporary closures.

Who’s responsible for clearing snow in the public areas of Prague?

Residents across the city, however, are sharply criticizing the maintenance and clearing of the capital’s sidewalks, which is undertaken by the Prague Technical Communications Administration (TSK).

Many complain that the roads and sidewalks have not been sufficiently de-iced and salted, posing a danger to pedestrians and believe that the city should take a stronger hand in ensuring that sidewalks are safely cleared, rather than relying on TSK, which has a huge amount of surface area to cover.

According to TSK spokeswoman Barbora Lišková, there were over 1,000 workers on the streets over the weekend and early this week, as well as 80 vehicles clearing snow from the sidewalks. Road workers also used dozens of hand brushes, plows, and cutters, she said.

“We clean sidewalks, public transport stops, and other places that span a total length of 1,734 kilometers – approximately the distance from Prague to Barcelona"

TSK spokeswoman Barbora Lišková

Watch out for these extra-icy areas

The icy and slippery conditions have led to treacherous journeys outside – often leading to injuries. “We have fallen several times – not only me, but also my daughter. I'm quite afraid to go out now," a Prague 7 resident told news site iDnes.

So severe is the situation that each day since the beginning of the heavy snowfall has seen around 25 people needing ambulances after falling on the ice-laden sidewalks, according to spokeswoman for the Prague rescue services Jana Poštová.

In many districts across Prague, city officials are lending budgets and resources to assisting TSK with clearing snow and ice.

“We perceive that many sidewalks are not sufficiently cleared of snow and ice, and walking on them is not very comfortable," said spokesman for Prague 3 Jiří Hannich.

The management of Prague 3 has decided to help TSK clear the sidewalks – “it is practically certain that we will pay for this measure from the district’s budget,” Hannich conceded.

Prague 8 Mayor Ondřej Gros acknowledged people’s frustrations, emphasizing TSK’s efforts in cleaning and sprinkling the sidewalks within its jurisdiction. The management of the Prague 12 district even filed a complaint over TSK’s response to the heavy snowfall.

Have you had trouble walking on sidewalks in your area since the weekend?

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Prague 11 is doing similarly: according to councilor Libor Vrkoč, 30 to 40 people a day are dedicated to road and sidewalk maintenance during winter. The district of Prague 7 will also assist in clearing the roads: "We do not leave it to the city alone,” said spokesman Martin Vokuš.

An interactive map by TSK shows when and how particular roads and sidewalks are maintained during the winter.

The City of Prague has confirmed that it is doing its utmost to communicate with TSK to speed up the clearing of sidewalks. It also reminds members of the public to continue to be vigilant of falling snow and icicles from roofs – pedestrians in Prague will have noticed that parts of some sidewalks have been cordoned off to protect members of the public.

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