The pedestrian zone in front of the central railway station in Brno, one of the busiest places in the city, has been abolished. The City Council intends to declare this space as a ‘shared zone,’ a concept recently introduced in the legislation this year, making it possibly the first in the Czech Republic.
The shared zones have a slightly different regime than pedestrian zones, as they also allow cars. “All road users have access to the shared zone. However, the speed of passing cars is limited to 20 km/h for safety reasons. The system works in such a way that no one is allowed to endanger anyone else,” explains Filip Poňuchálek, the Brno City Council spokesperson.
The declaration of the area from the Letmo department store to the entrance to the existing pedestrian zone in Masarykova Street as a shared zone is a rather administratively demanding act. The city must agree with the South Moravian Regional Office and the traffic police. Therefore, it’s currently impossible to predict when this change may occur. However, the city leadership’s goal is to implement it as soon as possible for the safety of pedestrians.
The pedestrian zone was expanded to include the pre-station area last June after its fundamental reconstruction. The city considered the tram stops in front of the station to be Brno’s most important tram hub. Brno’s public transport carries a million passengers daily, most by tram.
The area’s reconstruction assumed that pedestrians would cross the boarding islands without restrictions, i.e., without fear of passing cars. Therefore, safety railings disappeared from the boarding islands. If the legislative novelty, i.e., the shared zone, is approved, replacing the signs, i.e., the Pedestrian Zone for the Shared Zone, will only be necessary. Pedestrians will have nothing left but to get used to the slow, busy car traffic again.