GB No. 2(13)/94


The Kraków Group of the Green Federation is proposing a systemic solution to the problem of municipal transport. Besides accessibility of all parts of the city, they take into consideration public health, the ecological balance of the city, the importance of the city and its cultural values, and equal rights for all social groups in the city.

Purposes of transport policy of the city:

  1. Reduction of pollution emission and noise caused by motorization.
  2. Decrease of demand for space and energy consumption derived from transport.
  3. Improvement of access to all parts of the city.
  4. Improvement of the environmental situation and public health in Kraków.

Means of achieving these goals:


Ordinary rain capes, bike racks for parking bikes, and above all a comprehensive network of separated cycleways make cycling comfortable in any season and weather. Examples from many cities show that 50% of all travel in the city can be made on bicycles. Only one out of every four cars carries a passenger, and 70% of trips take only 5 to 7 kilometres. For this distance the best means of transport is a bicycle. A bike doesn't take much space, doesn't make noise, doesn't pollute, and is fast in traffic jams -- 15-20 km/hour. The low cost of bicycle infrastructure is extremely advantageous. In addition, the handicapped can use the bicycle paths as well.

First of all, interdistrict cycleway network must be built. This will make connections between the center and other districts. In the future these cycleways will safely accommodate large-scale, fast bicycle transport. For now, their purpose is to encourage people to use their bicycles. These cycleways must meet the following conditions:

  1. Two-way path physically separated from the road.
  2. A smooth, asphalt surface 2.5 - 3.0 metres wide.
  3. Cross-roads and pedestrian passages must be marked with flag-stone.
  4. Lights signalling safe passages on busy streets.
  5. Year-round maintenance (clearing snow in winter).

The second step is the creation of a district cycleway network. This should help provide safe access to the interdistrict cycleways, shops, and important public transport stations. They should meet the same conditions mentioned above. On streets that are not very busy, these cycleways can be located on the sides of the roads, but they have to be marked. Unfortunately, this is not the best solution for winter, when you cannot see the path well enough. It is a dangerous solution and should be avoided.

When necessary, a local cycleway network should be built in housing complexes. These cycleways will separate cyclists and pedestrians and provide access to shops and houses. Such cycleways are used mostly by children.

Recreational roads and tracks are an extension of interdistrict roads. The standard depends on their future function.

In existing zones A, B, C, and O (calm, restricted traffic zones in the centre of Kraków) the bicycle must have the right of way. There must be a speed limit of 30 km/hour for cars. Cyclists must have the right to use one-way sreets in both directions. With this solution, interdistrict bicycle roads are not necessary in the area.

Every single part of a cycleway that is constructed should first link the most important places in the city and make travelling easy and safe on its whole length. This is very important, because many cyclists are afraid of riding between cars. These roads initially will serve to make people willing to use their bicycles, and in the future they will allow large-scale interdistrict traffic. A bicycle road 3 m wide has a traffic capacity of about 10,000 persons/hour.

The bicycle roads should be built running from the centre and connecting with the already existing network in a way that allows as many cyclists as possible to use the new roads as early as possible. The recently built bicycle roads must be directly linked together or connected by zones of limited car traffic. In some cases, instead of making a new road, a bicycle-friendly reconstruction of a dangerous crossroad or a bicycle tunnel can be sufficient for a while.

The construction of bicycle roads has to be coordinated with other investments in the city. An unfinished road doesn't make any sense and costs money.

Finally, the establishment of bicycle parks is necessary.


Improvement and rationalization of public transport is necessary. Punctuality, speed, comfort, low cost, a dense network of connections, and the possibility of easy transfers are the main elements that can make drivers leave their cars and use the public transport. Most of these improvements cost nothing.

Public transport should use separated parts of roads. This means a punctual, easy ride on public transport and difficulties in using cars, especially in the centre of the city. Separated tram tracks should make their use by buses possible.

Public transport must be integrated with bicycle transport:

  1. Special lines should make transporting bicycles or wheelchairs possible for long distances. The stops on these lines should be situated next to the crossings of main bicycle roads.
  2. At least part of the rolling-stock should be prepared for transporting bicycles and wheelchairs; these times must be clearly marked in the time-table.
  3. Next to the stops (especially the major ones) there should be bicycle parks and garages.
  4. At the places where bicycle paths are on roadsides, stops must be friendly to cyclists; the cycleway must pass the stop near the pavement with a gentle curve and a bus should stop at an islet between the cycleway and the street.

In buying the rolling stock, environmental and social aspects should be considered. Trams and buses with low floors are more accessible for the handicaped, so they should be the standard. We have to take into consideration the preservation and creation of new work places in Kraków and Poland. The rolling-stock should be produced or assembled locally. This calls for cooperation with other cities.

The long-term vision includes a low-floor fast tram, construction of a tram tunnel between Rondo Mogilskie and Pl. Inwalidów; creation of a fast North - South tram line; and possibly the introduction of trolley buses on the most polluted and noisy lines.


The car uses a lot of energy. Individual car transport is dangerous to the health and life of the people as well as to the environment of the city and its cultural and historical values. An example is Los Angeles, where 60% of the surface is covered with streets and parking spaces. This city is notorious for its smog and huge traffic-jams. It also proves that creation of roads and parking encourages people to use cars and worsens the problem it was meant to solve. In Kraków, there is a need to build a by-pass road that would relieve traffic at Aleje Trzech Wieszczów andto renovate already existing roads, together with developing bicycle and public transport. No new roads should be built. It's either cars or Kraków!

An air pollution monitoring system should be introduced, and streets where the pollution is critical should be closed.

Car speed must be limited and car traffic must flow more smoothly. To reach this goal we have to create speed bumps on secondary roads which would make drivers slow down to 30km/hour. On the main streets with working public transport there must be a light signalling with the "green wave" system, informing drivers what is currently the best speed.

The ecological capacity of the city center has to be estimated -- in other words, we need to figure out how many cars can pollute the environment in the existing zones A,B,C, and O. According to this number, tradeable car entrance rights should be sold. Citizens of the zones should receive compensation.

Supply cars should buy permits for entering the zones. These permits should be sold by the City Guard for a certain day and hour. This system can be implemented in other city zones. Many systems of electronic control of entrance are known and may be implemented.

In the A, B, C and O zones ecological transport should be promoted. This includes bicycles, electric carts, and cargo rickshaws. Rickshaws of a 0.5 t load could become a low-investment source of livelihood for a certain number of unemployed people.

In the centre of Kraków some parking places should be allowed, but should be accessible only to those with permits. Multilevel parking garages should be built only for the purpose of creating green areas in the place of parking lots. New parking areas should not increase car traffic.

Spatial planning of the city should limit transport needs. High density decentralized housing should also provide local services and workplaces. Within the district or in an even smaller area, the number of inhabitants and workplaces should be balanced. This will decrease the number of trips and encourage people to walk or use their bikes. The public transport stops and service centres should be situated at a maximum distance of 5 minutes by bicycle.

Multilevel parking garages must be built far from inhabited buildings, close to busy roads and streets. They should separate housing districts from noise and pollution. Commercial parking lots can be built only outside the third ring road and they should encourage drivers to use public transportation or bicycles.

The car registration fee in Kraków should include the price of an annual pass for public transportation for four people. We need to promote lead-free petrol, especially liquified gas and renewable fuel.

In the future your own car will become superfluous. You will be able to rent one when it's really needed, which won't be difficult or expensive. For every day an ordinary and comfortable bicycle, a rain cape, and a full year public transportation pass will be sufficient. To make it happen we have to start changes right now!

It's in all people's interest to persuade as many people as possible to use their bicycles instead of cars. The air will become cleaner, and noise and traffic jams will be reduced. Building of cycleways is financially possible for the city, and the local environmental movement is trying to promote bicycling as the best means of transport. There are already hundreds of citizens riding their bicycles to work, to schools, and to shopping centres. Among the big cities in Poland, Kraków has the largest number of cyclists, so it's a very good beginning!


Let Kraków be a beautiful city, without traffic jams on the streets. Let Kraków be a rich city, saving petrol, energy, and money. And let Kraków be a HEALTHY city, with thousands of cyclists quietly riding through green streets, districts, and parks.

The "KRAKÓW - CITY OF BICYCLES" campaign is led by the Kraków Group of the Green Federation, the Commission on Transport at the Polish Ecological Club, and the Cyclists' Federation at the Academy of Economics in Kraków, and is coordinated by Marcin Hyła.

Marcin Hyła
Ecological Office
ul. Sławkowska 12
skr. poczt. 6, 30-104 Kraków 45
tel/fax: 48/12/22 22 64
tel: 48/12/22 21 47
Foundation for the Support of Ecological Initiatives,
Account nr: 323415-707156-132-3
BPH IV Kraków Branch

ZB 3 (57) p 62


GB No. 2(13)/94 | Contents