In Szamocin, Białołęka, the shortest route to school and shops is narrow, dark and without sidewalks. Residents fear for their safety and demand changes. They have been fighting for this for years.
Szamocin is the northern part of Białołęka, right next to the border with the Nieporęt commune. It is also the name of the street – picturesque, narrow, green. Although it doesn’t look like it, it is located within the borders of Warsaw. And it causes a lot of problems for residents.
– We have problems with getting to school, clinics, shops, railway stations and public transport – describes the situation Dorota Czajkowska, who, together with other residents, is trying to build a sidewalk and lighting along Szamocin and Wałuszewska streets. – We are fighting for this sidewalk because we are cut off from Warsaw. It’s supposed to be Warsaw, but we feel like we’re in a remote village. We pay taxes here and we want to live like other residents of our city, he says.
The two mentioned streets lack a sidewalk, bicycle path, and lighting, and the road is narrow – about five meters. Even cars coming from the opposite direction can barely pass each other. When it rains, the soft roadside turns into mud. There are also no pedestrian crossings.
– If there is vehicular traffic there in the morning and pedestrians are walking there at the same time, it may be dangerous for both. There, pedestrians have no choice but to travel on the asphalt – confirms a tvnwarszawa.pl reporter who was on site.
“Sooner or later there will be an accident”
– We can’t go anywhere without a car here. We have children who go to kindergarten, school and university. My child rides his bike to school along Wałuszewska Street. Now he says he is afraid to return after dark because it is too dangerous there. So she comes with me when I leave for work at 6:45 and is forced to wait at school for over an hour until the first bell rings. After classes, he waits again for his father to take him home, says Mrs. Dorota. – It’s almost a miracle to walk down Wałuszewska and Szamocin streets after dark and survive. There’s something happening there all the time, he notes.
Białołęka councilor Filip Pelc (unaffiliated) notes that there is no alternative route in the area. – It happens that a car hits a child with its mirror. There will be an accident there sooner or later, Pelc fears. As the number of inhabitants increases and the only safe means of transport is your own car, car traffic is increasing. Which naturally worsens the situation for pedestrians and cyclists even more.
– This is a shortcut for many drivers to go from Płochocińska to Modlińska and further to the Northern Bridge. The number of cars is increasing, says our interlocutor. And it will get worse. – 200 terraced houses are to be built next to us – adds Czajkowska.
They met with road workers, but nothing happened
For half a year, Mrs. Dorota has been involved in – as she puts it – “trying to ask for normality in the capital city of Warsaw.” But other residents have been fighting since 2015. They knocked on the doors of the mayor and councilors. They heard that the road was the responsibility of the Municipal Roads Authority.
Residents managed to arrange an online meeting with road workers. Earlier, they presented a petition signed by over 200 people. She was supported by the principals of nearby primary schools – numbers 110 and 31.
They didn’t accomplish much. As Mrs. Dorota reports, residents are waiting for information from the office regarding applying for money for investments in the town hall. – We feel that this is not a priority for ZDM. We have sent a letter to request that the construction of the sidewalk be included in the Multiannual Financial Forecast – adds councilor Pelc.
There was also the issue of the bus. – The office said that it would provide us with a bus from Wilkowiecka Street to Płochocińska Street. But we asked for a bus towards Modlińska Street and PKP Płudy. So they offer a bus, in the opposite direction and from the street, which is one and a half kilometers from us – says the resident.
Forest areas near the road, “largely private”
We are also asking about the matter at the Municipal Roads Authority. The response of the road construction spokesman shows that there is no chance for the situation to improve quickly.
We learned that a petition from residents on this matter was submitted to ZDM. “The road on the greater length of Wałuszewska Street and on parts of Szamocin Street ends where the road ends. Then there are forest areas, largely private,” says Jakub Dybalski, ZDM spokesman.
“The possible construction of a sidewalk would probably require a ZRID decision (permit for the implementation of a road investment), which would allow for the acquisition of land. In 99 percent of cases it would not be implemented by ZDM, because in such a case the roads would simply have to be built anew,” explains Dybalski.
Main photo source: Mateusz Szmelter/tvnwarszawa.pl