Sunday, 12 April 2015

Headway in local infrastructure

1. Park and Ride Metro Stokłosy

When the ground-level, open-air car park for commuters near Metro Stokłosy was closed in October 2013, the revamped parking facility was scheduled to be opened on 15 Janaury 2015. The completion deadline has been met, since by all accounts the car park was finished before the end of 2014, yet it took one quarter more for the general contractor to fix all glitches, put finishing touches and for town hall clerks to issue the occupancy permit for the car park.

At long last, P+R Stokłosy was opened on 1 April 2015. It was supposed to be opened at 4:30 a.m., but when I pulled up there around 7:00 a.m., a chap from technical crew told me the facility was not yet opened. Turned away, I had to drive, for the last time so far, to P+R Ursynów. Quite probably, the car park staff were under-informed, or played an April Fool’s Day’s joke on me. During the press conference staged on the same day by the Public Transport Authority and some officials from the town hall, including deputy mayor, parked cars could be seen in the background.

The car park has the parking charge collection system identical to the one at P+R Ursynów. Once you drive in, you need to collect a parking ticket from the machine. A regular charge for parking is 100 PLN, however it can be cancelled if before leaving the facility a driver authenticates they are in a possession of at least daily public transport ticket. For the time being the system is defunct and gates are opened all the time. Beware though and do not try to use P+R Stokłosy as an overnight garage for you vehicle. On 2 April I witnessed some dim-witted chaps who left their rickety lorry there for the night-time maintenance break and found a billing note beneath wipers. A board with the list of rules and regulations is in front of the entrance, so ignorance of law is not an excuse.

It has been a subject of a heated debate among inhabitants of Ursynów, whether this huge box of painted concrete (the facility will serve also as bus terminus) is a blot on the landscape of Al. KEN, the thoroughfare of Ursynów. Developments on both sides of Al. KEN have been put up in 1990s or later, upon completion of underground line and are quite uniform. P+R Stokłosy’s structure is a misfit. Park and Ride facility at Okęcie tram and bus terminus, of similar architectural style, fits much better the surrounding area.

The car park offers space for almost 400 cars and only 20 bicycles. As for the latter, the number of spots for bike users is horrifically low, while the car parking capacity in the first weeks of usage is utilized in less than 20%, although users of alternative P+Rs have been duly notified P+R Stokłosy had been opened. The new car park has four levels, but from my observations in afternoon (around 5 p.m.) the ground level is not filled up, let alone the empty spaces above it.

Despite some grumbling, I generally appreciate the new car park. It shortens the distance covered by car each day and lengthens the distance covered underground (I sometimes feel like a mole, spending over 20 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon below ground), moreover it helps avoid the most congested in afternoon section of ul. Puławska between ul. Poleczki and ul. Płaskowickiej (hint: ul. Taneczna, Krasnowolska, Poloneza and Ludwinowska come up as excellent detour). All in all, it brings some time and money savings, yet you have to use your brains to work out swinging east to leave a car there is superior to taking a straight-forward route to P+R Wilanowska for instance.

2. Ul. Mleczarska – progress report.

Traditionally, we start from the south, although when yesterday I strolled there to inspect how works moved on, I walked southwards (snaps by Szajsung).

The section from ul. Syrenki almost up to the railway crossing is nearly finished. The pavement on the east side is ready, as the cycling past on western side of the street is. The very road still lacks the top-most abrasive layer of tarmac and most probably it will not be laid until the very last days of construction (heavy vehicles use this road to reach construction site, to the decision to leave this section a little unfinished is reasonable).

I wonder whether all arrangements between the investor and owner (PGNiG Termika) or administrator (DB Rail Schenker) of the rail track running to Siekierki plant have been finalised. Not a single step has been taken to initiate modernisation of the railway crossing, while on both sides of the tracks construction of the road is more or less advanced…

The section between the tracks and ul. Energetyczna has taken shape since the beginning of March. Pavement and cycling path have been marked out. Laid curbs indicate the road will be slightly winding. One can also see an intersection with a road running into plot of former bus and trolleybus depot (torn down a few years ago). Cart well before horse. Modern lamps post have been put up yet the old ones, carrying overhead electricity wires, remain. The development could do with a more comprehensive approach.

Looking at four-lane ul. Energetyczna towards ul. Puławska. One can discern where two roads will run, yet without peeking at plans beforehand, one will not make out where a huge roundabout, replacing traditional intersection of ul. Mleczarska and ul. Energetyczna will be built.

The section between ul. Energetyczna and ul. Mleczarska is least advanced. The new road will be shifted west in relation to its previous trail. The nut tree first from the left will have to chopped down to give way to the cycling path.

And the last photo (finer playing part of an intruder), taken from the corner of ul. Krasickiego in NI and ul. Mleczarska. The fence of the property at the south-west corner of the intersection was pulled down and new, makeshift one, put up. Some pipes have also been laid underground, below the dug up parcel of land parallel to the road. According to my neighbour (allegedly having it on good authority), works will kick off here for good in May and completion deadline of 30 June 2015 is not in question. We shall see :)

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