After almost a year and a half of reconstruction for 200 million crowns, Mendlovo náměstí in Brno will open. The place is primarily one of the most important interchanges between public transport lines. Image taken on February 16, 2023.
Brno – Mendlovo náměstí is going to be inaugurated next week after a reconstruction lasting almost a year and a half for 200 million crowns. The place is primarily one of the most important interchanges between public transport lines. Even before the opening, however, the form of the reconstruction faces criticism, at least in internet discussions, mainly because of the 50-meter-long railing that separates the tram stop and the trolleybus stop. The workers were installing them at the last minute this week and were dismantling the paving that had already been laid. The spokesman of the municipality, Filip Poňuchálek, wrote to ČTK that the city is striving for the railing to be broken in two places so that it is possible to walk through it. He talks about “the coming days”.
Passengers who now change from tram line 1 to trolleybus lines 25 and 26 or vice versa, have to change at a single point and often have to cover a significantly longer distance when changing quickly, while it would only be enough to cross the roadway of the trolleybus stop, which serves public transport only. According to Poňuchálek, the rail was forced by the Railway Authority and the police, they argue about the safety of pedestrians. “We do not consider the guardrail at this location to be expedient and appropriate, we wanted it to be passable,” Jan Seitl, the transport director of the transport company, told ČTK. The architects who designed the shape of the square don't like it either. “The result is a tragedy. The railing clearly shouldn't be there. I don't know why it works elsewhere and not here,” said Ondřej Chybík from the architectural studio Chybík + Krištof for MF DNES.
The situation is similar to the one at the main station, where the railings have been in place for over five years also at the request of the police, people walk along the tram tracks and the road instead of the shortest route to the station hall. This spring, the city plans to remove the railings. At the Česká junction, there is a transfer point without a single guardrail. The mayor of the Židenice district, Petr Kunc (Voice for Židenice), commented ironically that he thought “it would be nice if the city of Brno also paid attention to the interchange at Stará osada and reconstructed it. I don't think that anymore.”
The reconstruction of the square also brought other traffic problems. While previously all lines from Výstaviště came along Hlinky, where cars were not allowed, now they come in the main traffic stream along Veletržní Street. Even during the reconstruction, it happened that public transport vehicles got stuck in a queue and waited for two or three green lights before reaching the stop, so they lost several minutes. Thanks to the trolleybus stop, the situation has partially improved, but not for the bus line 44, which stops right in front of Albert and is more difficult to transfer from before. Because of this, a permanent change in road markings is now being approved. “We should have a separate bus lane in Veletržní Street,” Seitl said.
The goal of the reconstruction was to simplify transfer connections. “The reconstruction improved the comfort of public transport stops. Especially from the point of view of accessibility, but also the capacity of individual stop edges and the directional location of individual stops,” said Poňuchálek. The number of stops has decreased from ten to one, some transfers are simpler, some more complicated. Especially from bus line 44, where passengers have to wait for the green light at the crossing. Previously, passengers did not have to cross any traffic lights.
The new shelters, which have the form of a square canopy on a central post without walls, and which do not protect much from rain and not at all from wind, have already received criticism. According to Poňuchálek, they were a compromise between the municipality, architects and designers.