Prague 1 transport councilor Vojtěch Ryvola (ANO) found himself in the spotlight at the end of November – perhaps somewhat unintentionally. A few months ago, he initiated a nighttime ban on cars entering the city center. But when TSK employees placed signs on the streets of the city two weeks ago, it turned out that the city district “forgot” to mention this to the Capital City Council.
And Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (ODS) immediately had the entry ban revoked.
At the same time, Prague is facing a revolutionary change in the parking system, including fees. And the negotiations on charging a fee for passing through the historic center are also ongoing.
How does he and the mayor declare a partisan action with signs? How much should parking cost in the capital? And why should he, as the vice-chairman of Prague’s ANO, insist on charging for entrance to the center, and at the same time fight against it? Ryvola talks about all this in an interview for Nauzal.
Two weeks ago, Prague 1 banned the entry of cars into part of the center at night. But you didn’t tell the capital city officials about it. Why?
We took it to mean that we want to protect a certain area from the noise of cars at night. But it turned out that one brand could not be mounted. In Králodvorská Street, we have a narrow sidewalk that cannot be marked, so suddenly the sidewalk, which is barrier-free, would become a barrier-free sidewalk. The Roads Technical Administration was given a condition to install it by November 30th, so when it was discovered 14 days before that the sign could not be installed, I assumed that it would not happen. I was going to discuss with the preservationists if we could hang the sign on the wall of the house.
But Mayor Svoboda didn’t know about it…
Why would I tell him that? It could have been another six months, or at least four months. Of course I could tell him, but I assumed it wouldn’t be yet. Today you know that I was proved right, because the municipality admitted that it is disturbing us because one sign is missing, so it is all wrong. I really don’t want to fight anyone in any way.
Argument over the night ban on entry to Dlouhá Street and its surroundings
Have you said it yet? Did you talk to the mayor?
The mayoress is already discussing it with the mayor. The basis is that the entire management of Prague 1 thinks that any pacification of this area is correct. Let everyone try to live there. I received a letter from a lady who fell asleep after three months, and it was still not at all certain if it was true or not, but the cars just didn’t go there anymore. So yes, we say it to each other, I humbly try to iron out what I can because I really don’t need to fight anyone. We need it to work, to make it work reasonably, and I will try to explain much more, I will try to convince. But there are moments when… This problem has been solved for eight, nine, 10 years, they just talk and talk and talk all the time.
To the center of Prague for two hundred
At the level of Prague, car transport is a highly political issue. This mainly concerns the charging of entrance to the center, but also changes to parking, as deputy Hřib mentioned on Tuesday. So far, a coalition of ANO and ODS is emerging, which is not at all inclined to change. Trying to negotiate political support?
We are talking about two things. One thing is the basic changes to the parking system, which I think has support from almost all parties. I hear that both ODS and TOP 09 want it, as well as us here in Prague 1. This is where agreement could be found, from my point of view the details are already being “finished”, I have not heard fundamental opposition anywhere. For the entrance fee, they have to explain and explain and explain. It is on the verge of whether more people will come to the opinion that it is a reasonable thing, or more people will say that it will not bring anything. But maybe we can come to an agreement.
However, do you support the entrance fee in the last presented form, simply put for two hundred per day?
The City Council of Prague 1 agreed to it unanimously, and no one abstained. We, as the leadership of the district, have committed to this, that we will call on the capital city of Prague to take action.
But how exactly do you deal with politicians? As the vice-chairman of the Prague ANO, you should convince the chairman of the representative club Patrik Nacher or the chairman of the Prague organization Ondřej Prokop.
I’m trying, but I haven’t succeeded yet. I am in a schizophrenic situation where, on the one hand, as a councilor for Prague 1, I should support it, because we agreed on it, and on the other hand, as the first vice-chairman of the ANO Prague movement, I should say that the ANO Prague movement does not want it. So I prefer not to comment too much on it, because I don’t know how to combine these two positions. I am sitting here for the residents of Prague 1, it is one of the priorities of the residents of Prague 1. All the various surveys among our residents show that one of the most important things for the residents of Prague 1 is to calm the streets and completely change the parking system. But on the other hand, Prague’s ANO movement agreed that it does not support entrance fees. At the same time, I think that the ANO movement also supports changing the parking system.
What is happening now around the night curfew?
We understood that we had to do it better and smarter. One of the things we were criticized for was the basis on which the state administration acted. I assumed that the stimulus was sufficient for the simple reason that it has been talked about for such an awfully long time, that we have tons of letters here, let’s finally act, that people are desperate.
But the Council’s resolution was missing…
It lacked a Council resolution. Now the matter goes to the transport committee as a separate item, the transport committee can recommend it and I will submit everything as a printout to the Prague 1 Municipal Council on Monday. The council will approve the recommendation for the municipality. And then it’s up to the municipality, because it will be absolutely clearly informed that the people want it that way.
Let visits and craftsmen pay more than in garages
This week, Deputy Minister for Transport Zdeněk Hřib presented a new parking concept in the capital. To what extent did you discuss these changes?
Last year in June, my predecessor Richard Bureš wrote a pile of comments. After I started in November of last year, I grasped it, worked it out, “polished” it a bit. The elaboration that I sent to First Deputy Hřib last year was gradually created. He liked it very much. Of course, he already had his own proposals ready, because there has been a lot of talk about parking, but so far no one has found the courage to really go for it.
Read how parking in Prague is to be changed
Will you discuss this with other parties and city districts?
It’s amazing that it looks like the whole municipality and all the city districts could agree, because parking is becoming a problem everywhere, it’s not just a problem for Prague 1, 2 and 3. What’s missing here is the concept that when you come to Prague from Pilsen, so there should be 3,000 parking spaces, easily above the highway, easily next to the highway, but with a direct connection to public transport. Then it can work. Then we will talk about the concept of transport in Prague in the 21st century.
Will you, as Prague 1, make any comments on the plan of deputy Hřib?
We will definitely comment, even though 90% of what bothers us the most is there. The absolute biggest problem for Prague 1 is portable cards. For 36,000 crowns you can buy a portable card for the whole year, so the costs will come to a hundred per day. And today you have companies that charge 450 crowns per day for all-day parking on a portable card. One person who buys 100 such parking cards is sitting at home earning hard money. This is a clear abuse of public space.
What is in the 10 percent on which there is no agreement?
The maximum dimensions of the vehicle should be clearly stated. Fortunately, we agreed that if you have a trailer, you have to pay for parking for that trailer too, today you don’t have to. I always state ad absurdum that if I take a car and attach a twenty-meter glider behind it, I can park in Na Příkopě street and it’s fine.
I haven’t seen windmills there yet. I assume you’re talking about limousines with advertising, for example. What limit do you mean?
I suggested five meters, someone suggested five and a half meters, someone suggested six meters to be sure. There’s only one problem – we can’t get into the registry, so the city cop can’t see what the dimensions of the car are.
He can take a tape measure and measure it.
He could do that, but then again, for city police officers to run around parking lots with the subway… In the end, why not? But this hasn’t gone through yet and I’m sorry. If you have a car that is seven meters long, I have no problem with that, but you will have two paid parking cards.
Are you in favor of displacing cars from the center of Prague as much as possible?
Let them stay, but they pay much more
A total of 2 readers voted.
What else do you want to change?
I do not agree with my colleagues that the blue zone really only belongs to residents, or their visits or their service, for which there is 120 hours of parking. In addition, we are not completely clear about whether only a resident over 18 or a family should have 120 hours for their own needs, and how to monitor it. I would reduce it to one flat, for example, and then it’s fine.
What reservations do you have about using blue zones?
The concept considers a short-term stop of 15 and 30 minutes in the blue zone for refueling. As a district of Prague 1, we would prefer to increase the number of places for supply, but special, really specific ones. Even if there should always be one supply spot on every street, we’d rather do that than agree to have supply parked in blue zones. The proposal is that there will be some kind of application, and we are a little worried that it will not spread here.
Should visitors or artisans use the 120 hours from residents for free?
In my opinion, the price for residents should not be zero. I will suggest that it is higher than the price of parking in underground garages. I get an opportunity for my relatives, for my service, that they can stop in front of my house. But something for something. Get for your relatives, for your service, that they can stop in front of my barracks, but for a fee.
How much should a standard resident parking card cost?
I will definitely suggest that it remains at the price of 1,200 crowns for one discounted card for residents. The full price should be about 7,000 crowns. The only difference I thought about is that if Prague were divided by the Vltava, Malá Strana would be one parking zone and the rest another parking zone. On the one hand, I would have a discount on the 1,200 crowns, and if I wanted to park on both, it would be 7,000 crowns for the full price, or at least double the 1,200, so some 2,400 crowns. Maybe I work on one side and live on the other, so let me pay extra. We have a month to talk about all this and send a proposal to Mr. Hřib, what we think about it.