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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Warsaw. Magdalena Biejat rides a bike, loves the subway, and relies on trams

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He rides a bike to work, even if he has to cross Puławska Street, which is dangerous for cyclists. She loves the subway, which – as she assured – she uses “almost every day, not only during the election campaign.” But instead of sinking billions into the third line of the underground railway, she would prefer to expand the tram network. Candidate for the mayor of Warsaw, Magdalena Biejat, talked on Wednesday about her vision of transport in the city.

Deputy Speaker of the Senate Magdalena Biejat, candidate of the Left and Urban Movements for the mayor of Warsaw, noted at the beginning that “mobility is not only the metro, tram, bus, it is also moving on foot, bicycles or scooters.” – I commute to the Sejm by bike. I’m struggling with how bike paths are designed. At Trzech Krzyży Square, they were routed in such a way that they caused a conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. It shouldn’t look like this, she said.

– We want Warsaw to invest in sidewalks and coherent bicycle infrastructure – she said, and when asked where bicycle paths should be built as a priority, she mentioned Puławska, which is Rafał Trzaskowski’s guilty conscience (Despite the renovation, there is no offer for cyclists on the section between Dolna and Goworka). – The sidewalks are very narrow, many cyclists and women cyclists are afraid to ride on the street because it is dangerous. I ride on the street myself, but let’s not expect that all bike users will slalom between cars – said Biejat.

Magdalena Biejat presented proposals regarding mobilitySzymon Pulcyn/PAP

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“Bus lanes wherever buses are stuck in traffic jams”

Then it was time for a bit of theater. The candidate took out a box with the inscription “Solving the problem of traffic jams in Warsaw.” She took out a maxi city card.

– We have a solution to traffic jams in Warsaw, the city card will guarantee freedom from traffic jams, like the get out of jail free card from Monopoly. If anyone complains about transport in Warsaw today, it is bus users. They are the least reliable. We will make sure that bus users have a guarantee that buses will not be stuck in traffic jams. The solution is simple, effective and cheap – bus lanes. We will introduce bus lanes wherever buses are stuck in traffic jams, declared Magdalena Biejat.

Where would she see them first? – Czerniakowska in Mokotów, Pułkowa in Bielany – she replied, reserving that it does not have to be a bus lane along the entire length of the route. – Sometimes a lock or a section of several hundred meters on a particularly congested part of the road is enough – she added.

By tram to Ząbki, Raszyn or Łomianki?

Marek Szolc, a Warsaw councilor from the Left, spoke mainly about trams. He did not spare bitter words to the current authorities of Warsaw. – During these five and a half years of office, only about four kilometers of tram infrastructure were completed – one and a half kilometers in Tarchomin and just over two kilometers to Kasprzak. Investments that have been promised many times, such as the lines to Zielona Białołęka or Gocław, are being postponed until the end of time – criticized Szolc.

As he noted, if investments are postponed until the 2030s, it is impossible to say that they are “absolute priority“. – The Tramwaje Warszawskie company has a lot of experts, enthusiasts of the topic, competent people who are waiting in the starting blocks to implement ambitious projects – he explained. And he argued that if priorities are changed, the line to Gocław is feasible by 2027, along Modlińska – by 2028, and to Zielona Białołęka – by 2028. – The latter is six kilometers of track, we estimate that it would cost about PLN 500 million. This is not money that is impossible to obtain – said Szolc.

Magdalena Biejat reminded that about a million people commute to Warsaw every day, so it is worth taking out the old concepts of building tram lines to the towns near Warsaw: Ząbki, Raszyna and Łomianki. – But for this to happen, Warsaw must work harder to resume work on the metropolitan law. Without an act that will provide the possibility of co-financing such investments, nothing will happen, she admitted.

The metro is supposed to serve residents, not developers

This is how she moved to the metro, which electrifies residents the most before every election. Campaign discussions usually take the form of maps with successive lines of the underground railway drawn in colorful colors. Most remain fantasy. That’s why the Left’s candidate said she wouldn’t waste maps, even though she “loves the subway.”

– I ride the metro almost every day, not only during the election campaign, because I am lucky to live next to a metro line. At the same time, I believe that they should be built to serve residents, not developers. The metro should be built based on analyzes and research. The city has such a study, and yet it decides to designate the metro contrary to the results and recommendations of experts – argued the deputy speaker of the Senate, referring to the third line from the National Stadium to Gocław pushed for by Rafał Trzaskowski. Forecasts indicate very small passenger flows, around a few thousand people at the peak.

– According to city hall data, the capacity (of the third line on the forced route – ed.) during rush hours can be handled by an 18-meter bus. Why spend billions of zlotys on an infrastructure solution that is the most expensive of all in construction and operation – asked Kuba Czajkowski from Miasto Jest Nasze. And Marek Szolc added that “hysterical attempts are underway to make sense” of the third line by allowing the possibility of increasing the density of buildings in Gocław’s local plans.

– Residents of Praga Południe will commute to the center slower than they could by tram or bus. This section will cost us PLN 5 billion, and with favorable winds it will be built in eight years – argued Biejat. In her opinion, the route of the third line needs to be changed, and until then, investments in trams need to be made. Without showing specific routes, she said that what was needed was: a line from Grochów to the center, a line connecting Białołęka with the left bank and a route parallel to the M1 (north-south).

Magdalena Biejat would bet on the tramtvnwarszawa.pl

Question about increases in transport ticket prices

When asked about a possible increase in ticket prices due to rising communication costs, she stated briefly: – We do not plan to increase ticket prices.

She has not yet revealed the name of her possible deputy for transport.

Author:Piotr Bakalarski

Main photo source: Szymon Pulcyn/PAP

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