Krakow Residents Rally to Save Neighborhood Trees

Plans to widen ul. Czarnowiejska and al. Kijowska have turned into another messy battle of residents versus developers. Residents of the Krowodrza area were shown a proposal that necessitated the cutting down of over 40 trees in their neighborhood, including 200-year-old oaks. Piotr Klimowicza, head of the Krowodrza V Neighborhood Council, claims that the roads can be expanded without touching the trees, which carry a historic significance for the area. “The enormous, almost 200-year-old oaks, which are the remains of an old garden district… do not disturb the flow of traffic, therefore I see no reason to get rid of them. It just seems to prove the strange tendency of our city to cut down and get rid of such valuable natural resources,” he says.

Michał Pyclik of the Krakow Board of Municipal Infrastructure and Transport (ZIKiT) expressed shock at the area residents’ reactions, claiming the plans were meant to develop the transportation network, making it easier for residents to get around. ZIKiT’s plans were admittedly still a work in progress, but included a new third lane for public transit and improvements to the intersections, sidewalks, and water drainage system.

In order to discuss the fate of the condemned greenery, residents demanded a meeting with developers to discuss the street expansion plans. The meeting, which took place Tuesday of this week, was more of a stand-off between the neighborhood and the plan designers from Ruda Śląska. Problems started when the sound system failed and attendees could not hear what was happening. Their impatience mounted, and after several minutes of the developers’ explanation, residents began standing up and expressing their concerns. After a heated exchange, droves of angry residents left, planning to file a formal protest the next day at the District Council against the expansion of the two roads by the group from Ruda Śląska.

This is not the first battle Krowodrza has waged over proposed area improvements. According to an article in Gazeta Krakowska, they spoke out last year against bicycle paths that were to offer passage between apartment blocks, keeping cyclists away from the noisy and smoggy streets on their way out of Krakow towards Ojców. Residents opposing the proposed bike route explained that they did not want to deal with the additional noise that such an improvement might bring. Disappointed cyclists contemplated whether it was the sound of the bicycle chain or their breathing that would have been so unbearable.

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