Reinventing Bp and the Danube
Many developments and investments have been started under the supervision of Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (Centre for Budapest Transport) also knows as BKK recently, to improve Bp’s city-life as we know it. We asked Dávid Vitézy, CEO of BKK about his vision of a City with smooth and all-encompassing transportation.
You have many burning projects, what are the professional aspects based on which you can prioritize?
The task at hand is huge: we have to recover from several decades’ worth of lagging behind, both in a technical and ideological sense, and in a very short time with fewer resources than we would need. Luckily BKK is team that is comprised of individuals who can bring their professional ‘A’ game while also working together. This is only possibly by following a uniform concept: we want a city that you can maintain, one that is friendly, with a reliable and state of the art public transportation system, and one that still remains open to suggestions from the civilian sphere.
According to plans the fast-boat line will be in use from the first of July. How would the line change transportation in the capital?
A lot of inaccurate information is being spread about the boat line. The line will have 10 stops on weekdays (Haller u., A38, Boráros tér, Szent Gellért tér, Petőfi tér, Batthyány tér, Jászai Mari tér, Árpád híd – Népfürdő u., Meder u., Újpest – Árpád út), out of which three are on Buda. During weekends in will also stop at the Margitsziget, during summer it will also stop at the Óbudai-sziget and the Római-part. We are also starting negotiations on using the pier at the Kopaszi-gát, so that every public park near the shore can be easily reached by using the boat.
We aren’t currently expecting the boat line to radically change transportation habits. Since there hasn’t been a similar service in decades, we are looking at it as an experiment: we will track how many passengers get on and off at which stops and how much the line is used all around. I can see expansion by incorporating the suburbs. If we could organize a service of having truly fast boats coming from Százhalombatta and Nagymaros, we could really restructure travel to the capitol. This is all still in the planning stage of course, I don’t see it coming to fruition before 2014.
If resources would allow for it, what would the most burning investment or development be, in connection with the coexistence of the city and the river?
Here at BKK the notion that became crystal clear was that by converting the lower pier area of Pest to a public footpath, and thus creating a north-south walking route, we could advance transportation quite a bit in a few years’ time. Lyon,Paris,Hamburgor evenBelgradeare all good examples of how city life near the embankment draws in the locals like a magnet. That’s where the most atmospheric cityscapes come into being. This naturally has economical results as well, since tourism, recreational establishments, and the rise of property prices means a huge income for the city.
Comparatively the building costs are minimal: our suggested remodeling of the section between the Március 15. square and the Kossuth square wouldn’t cost more that 4-7 billion HUF – which is the price of 2 km of highway maybe –, since it doesn’t affect public utilities or works of art. Legal hurdles aren’t really an issue either, what we really have to change is the stagnation. We have to make it clear that using the shore of the Danube for car-traffic is a waste. We have to take many things into consideration of course, like the fact that the lower pier and its roads are indispensable for Buda, whilePestha
s by less traffic nature with several other routes to take.
How much do you ‘use’ the Danube personally?
I live inBudapest, but apart from crossing the bridges I have very little contact with theDanubeunfortunately, besides working on its development theoretically. I envy the results of the riverside developments inBarcelona, or inLondon. My goal is to have many more great places alongside the river inBudapest, near the Kopaszi-gát or the A38 ship.
See more info on this subject at www.bkk.hu/en