Pedestrians, local businesses, cultural values – here are some of the key points of the proposal submitted by 18 civil society organisations to the leaders of Budapest, concerning the development of the Grand Boulevard into a more liveable urban space.

In an open letter to the mayor of Budapest and the local government of the six affected districts, 18 civil society organisations have proposed their ideas about restructuring the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút), one of the busiest transport corridors in central Budapest. The organisations, listed under the letter published by Építész Fórum, are involved in matters such as urban and sustainable development, transportation, and community organisation.

The letter starts by emphasising the importance of creating a liveable and enjoyable urban environment, a matter that has been pushed to the background amid discussions about traffic calming measures in the recent period. The organisations claim that

“questions of urban policy cannot be addressed with answers that only consider transportation,”

and that all urban functions should be taken into consideration when it comes to the comprehensive development of urban spaces.

“Instead of an axis that only serves transit traffic, the Grand Boulevard should be transformed into Pest’s main street for culture, commerce, and catering; a green, shady promenade; the main meeting point between the Hungária Boulevard and the Small Boulevard (Kiskörút).”

budapest grand boulevard nagykörút
Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút) in Budapest
Photo: Pixabay
Green and community-friendly

The proposals, organised into eight bullet points, primarily concern the protection of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, as well as children, the elderly, and people with reduced mobility. As it is pointed out, neither parking spaces nor bicycle lanes should be created at the expense of pedestrians.

Child-friendliness is also promoted through the proposed installation of community spaces and green areas, which should be provided up to 500 metres from one’s residence, in areas protected from loud and fast traffic. The proposal also suggests a ban on highly polluting vehicles to ensure an urban space free of noise and air pollution.

budapest city hungary community development
Photo: MTI/Mohai Balázs

Green areas are also crucial in the battle against climate change, reads another paragraph of the proposal. Protection of trees is critical, and so is providing city dwellers with personal spaces where they can cultivate their own plants.

Culture and local economy

The organisations highly suggest the reinforcement of culture through the involvement of major institutions (e.g. cinemas), business premises, and relevant cultural figures. Awareness should be made of the large number of buildings along the Boulevard that “represent an immense cultural value“.

szent istvan korut 100, grand boulevard budapest
Szent István körút 17.
Photo: Vanda Szemán

For the revival of local businesses and shopping streets, it is crucial to limit car traffic in order to provide enough space for unloading and the stimulation of pedestrian and cyclist traffic for increased consumption. Local businesses play an essential role in supplying local households and in creating job opportunities, and the same applies for catering facilities, which – apart from the party district – are of rather poor quality.

Though the organisations call for setting up a “street management body” to work out a detailed plan based on the above, they vision a development process that takes place with the active involvement of people, as “locals and communities […] are the real experts of local needs”.

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  1. Traffic should all be diverted to tunnels or simply banned within city centre ( Budapest has got excellent public transport, no excuses for all those one-man-only-car we see every day ).
    Turn both boulevards, inner and grand, into green pedestrian-only belts and push people to take a walk or cycle up and down. Like this there is a chance to at least start reducing people’s obesity, whose rate in Hungary is shocking, and the city’s pollution, which too has reached record level. It takes years, but all begins with first step.
    Green is the future, as our wonderful Mayor knows very well.

  2. What right do these civil society groups have to “tell” people how the Korut should be organised?

    And of course the Mayor will do what these groups tell him! He cannot even sort out the Chain Bridge so I suggest he keeps well away from the Korut!

  3. Three things these wonderful “Green” societies forgot! 1. NO SMOKING on the grand boulevards including restaurants , 2. CONTROL VEHICLE NOISE, ESPECIALLY THOSE LOUD MOTORCYCLES AND GAS SCOOTERS. AND 3.
    DECENT WC’S! All you have to remember is how nice, quiet and fresh the air was when the city was locked down by the virus. Now it’s getting back to “Normal”.

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