Parking in the town centre

  • where Trhové Sviny
  • when November 2014
  • how design
  • who Barbora Weinzettlová, Jiří Weinzettl

Trhové Sviny became the municipality with extended powers in 2003 and therefore it is an administrative center of large frontier district (population more than 18,5 thousands inhabitants). Almost all authorities as well as the majority of shops and services are located in the historic center – Žižkovo square. In terms of Urbanism it is a positive phenomenon: the square retains its importance – it is still a natural center and place where activities are concentrated. However, this is accompanied by a negative consequence: the need for a higher number of parking spaces. Their location is a task difficult to solve.

At this moment majority of cars park on the main square (41 cars) and in the adjacent vacant lot in Bezručova street (34 cars). With respect to the required capacity, none of these options is good. The square is supposed to belong primarily to people and the traffic should not restrict the meetings and gathering taking place there. It is the most dignified social space, not a parking lot. But the latest construction works in the upper part of the square are an example of the opposite approach. Sidewalks, that used to be wide and offered a space for outdoor seating of the restaurants, are nowadays filled with parked cars. The main square deserves a complex reconstruction. However, a good result can be achieved only if the solution manages to calm down the traffic and find a sufficient space for car parking elsewhere, but still close to the center. The vacant lot in Bezručova street deserves to be built up with buildings, which will be connected to the corner building of the municipality and will create a full street. They would fill the open scar in the heart of the city. Even the best vision of car parking can never reach such effect.

But where to find suitable areas for car parking? The square is surrounded on three sides by historical structure of streets, that are inappropriate for this purpose. However, the area in the south defined by Bezručova street, The gate and Svinenský creek has different character. The current state is influenced by dramatic interventions from the second half of the 20th century. The original structure was replaced with a bus station and a new building of the post office. At this moment both buildings seem to be oversized. Between the old town hall, bus station and post office remains strange area. It is in the town center, but still a bit aside. The facilities of the town hall, the police station and technical services found its place here. It is dominated by small outbuildings, garages, warehouses and mess. Almost no historical traces remained here. The existing state requires a change. If the space will be solved comprehensively, it could become a decent car parking for the entire town center.

The main requirement is the relocation of the facilities of the technical services. However, the effort associated with that is worth it. The space behind the old town hall in the conservation area is not suitable for them. Even the offices of the municipality located in the courtyard (above the cloakrooms of the employees) does not seem appropriate. There are two options, where they could be moved: one is the adjacent three-storeyed building TKB, which is planned to be reconstructed, the other is the vacant lot in Bezručova street with a direct connection to the existing corner building of the Municipal Authority.

In this freed space a car parking for 110 automobiles is proposed. Visual separation from the square is ensured by a row of existing historic buildings. The passage through the town hall will become an important shortcut to reach the square. Everyone who gets out of the car begins to create his image of the city. First impression is very important. But how to make the car parking a pleasant place? Rear facades of existing buildings are very diverse in scale and quality of detail, therefore a strong unyfying element is needed. In a regular 8×8 meter grid, 27 trees are proposed to be planted, which promotes the car parking to a kind of a town garden. Trees with their crowns above car roofs bring back the atmosphere, scale and shade. With installed benches, bicycle racks, litter bins and other useful equipment, the daily routine will be more comfortable.

The new car parking could become a quite pleasant corner of the town. However, its main contribution would be the new opportunities, that it offers to the surrounding public space, including the town square and the neighbouring streets.

Note This proposal is based on the author's own initiative in response to the recent considerations of adaptating the existing car parking in Bezručova street and to the performed and prepared renewal of the town square.

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