Cyclists get unique opportunity to ride through Blanka tunnel
This Thursday, cyclists in Prague will have a unique opportunity to take a ride through the Blanka tunnel, before it gets filled with cars. The organizers of the annual Velká Jarní Cyklojízda or Critical Mass Bike Ride, the NGO Automat, expect thousands of people to turn up for the event. Vratislav Filler is in charge of the project:
How long is the stretch that goes through the tunnel?
“It will be about 2.5 kilometres long, just one section of the tunnel, but I think it will be enough since the whole ride is about 14 kilometres long.”
Can you describe the route of the ride? Where does it start?
“We start at the square of Jiřího z Poděbrad at 6:30 p.m.. We go through Husitská street and Magistrála, over the Masaryk train station, by the Těšnov tunnel to Čechův bridge and to Malá Strana.
How many people do you expect to turn up? Last year, around 5,000 people took part in the ride.
“We expect a similar number, several thousand, but definitely more than last year. We didn’t make an exact calculation but we expect it will be several thousand.”
You organize the mass bike rides through Prague every year and one of the reasons is to promote urban cycling. Would you say the conditions for cyclists in Prague have improved over the years?
“It definitely has. You can see a huge improvement in Prague over the past ten years, but in recent years we have noticed some stagnation. There are more and more people using their bikes, but the conditions are not improving as fast as they should.”
As far as I know, you will also be collecting signatures for a petition concerning the Blanka tunnel. Can you tell me more about that?
“And finally, after the opening of the Blanka tunnel calms down the traffic at Veletržní street, we want to decrease the number of car lanes.”