Sunday 17 February 2013

Neugestaltung Schwedenplatz

Someone challenged me to find ideas how to make the Schwedenplatz not only a more bikable but also a more liveable place. This area of Vienna is getting redeveloped however I have very little information about the plans other than the useful information here.  Therefore this is a ignorant brainstorm and nothing else but lets look at this space and see what could be done for bikes.

This is a view of the cycle network at Schwedenplatz. It is a bit of a confusing mixed mess.  The route along the canal is fantastic although it does get a bit crowded in summer. There is not a lot of cycle traffic at Schwedenplatz because it is very cycle unfriendly at the moment.  On the Franz Joefs-Kai there is a radweg but this is mixed in with pedestrians and it becomes very overcrowded in summer.

I will assume the functions of the space will remain and that the tram lines or underground garage will not be moved.  From the consultation here this seams to be the case.  The tram lines and the differing space functions create strong divisions in this space.   In order to maximise the space available for a nice park like location to be developed the transport function spaces need to be as space efficient as possible.

In my opinion it is important to remove the dividing road Rotenturmstrasse. This small amount of one way traffic can be routed down Fleischmarkt.  This dividing road does more to make the space unpleasant than its transport function justifies. This space is just too valuable to be used for a petrol station so that should be removed.

There are 2 radweg routes through here in my opinion. I have drawn them on the map below.  The Northern route exists already but between Urania and Schwedenplatz there is not enough room on the foot path for the bikes and the many pedestrians.  One lane of motor traffic needs to be removed to provide proper space for this route.

I think the southern route has to weave along the dividing lines of the space functions to minimise conflict.  This would require the ramp entrance to the underground garage to be moved and the space where the petrol station is now used for the coaches and buses. There are many tram lines and pedestrians travelling between the tram stops and U-Bahn exits, at this location the cycle path would need to go out along the edge of the road.  It would be extremely  important that high speed motor traffic does not turn off the huge road and cross a cycle path.  Therefore a cycle path (if required) would need to be routed between the tram lines and the motor vehicles.
It would be really nice to allow bikes to ride freely through the pedestrian space. This would work if pedestrian density is not too high and fast bike through traffic has an alternative route.  The canal is a fantastic through route but there is also pedestrian conflict there in summer.  So I think at least one fast through route for bike traffic needs to be good quality and clearly defined and the rest of the space used for pedestrians and people enjoying the space.  I do not know how bike traffic will develop here but it is essential that it is considered now at the planning stage and not painted on a foot path later as often seams to be the case.  Lets see what solutions are proposed and what they will mean for bike traffic.  Can the city of Vienna get this right?  They have space budget and time so let see...

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