Belgrade’s central pedestrian zone looks set to more than double in size.
City planners have announced plans to broaden the existing car-free zone, currently centred around Knez Mihailo Street, to include a network of side-streets around the city’s historic old town.
The project is to be carried out in phases, first taking in the streets around the Palace Hotel and then broadening out to include Kosančićev Venac and, eventually, the streets around Studentski Park. The city authorities released a somewhat confusing map of the project, from which it remains unclear how some key traffic problems – such as approaches to public car parks – will be resolved.
The project, designed by the Serbian Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Belgrade architectural legend, Branislav Jovin, is expected to begin its first phase in mid-August and will take several months to complete. According to the project team, the streets will be paved with stone paving slabs in a manner similar to Knez Mihailo Street and new monuments will be erected at key locations.
City urbanism guru, Milutin Folić, says the project was conceived to combine urban mobility and the environment but will also create new areas with a focus on various types of content.
“It has been conceived so that, once it is complete, the whole pedestrian zone will have four dominant functional centres. These will be, Vasina: a street of culture, because it is already home to the National Theatre, the National Museum, the Rector’s Office, the faculties of Philology, Philosophy and Biology, not to mention the Kolarac Foundaiton, the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ethnography and Pedagogy Museums and several hotels. Knez Mihailova will remain a shopping street. Topličin Venac and the surrounding streets will be a gastronomic quarter while Kosančićev Venac will become a historic zone where the cobbled streets will be reconstructed, as will the destroyed library and a city gallery will be built”, said Folić.
He added that Kosančićev Venac is particularly interesting as it contains the location where classic Serbian comedy, The Marathon Family (Maratonci), was filmed, and that this will be conserved as an attraction in its own right.