Ulica Ruska

Ruska Street in Wrocław will undergo revitalisation. We know the green concept

Ruska Street is one of the most important pedestrian axes in Wrocław, leading from the west of the city to the historic centre. With Oławska Street it forms the main east-west pedestrian axis. The space of Ruska Street has been entered in the register of monuments in the area recognised as a historical monument “Wrocław – historical centre complex”. The concept for its revitalisation has just been announced. After reconstruction, it is to be much greener and friendlier, but preserving the most important elements of history and the character of the historic route. Trees and hanging vegetation will appear on it, and rainwater will be used to water them.

An open-air exhibition has appeared on Ruska Street by the Dog Buds, presenting both visualisations and conceptual plans for the changes that await Ruska Street, and the process of arriving at these arrangements.
I would like to emphasise that it is not us, the officials, who are changing Ruska, but the citizens of Wrocław themselves who have indicated how they want the street to look after the changes. In the summer of last year, the selected Wrocław citizens met at a citizens’ meeting. The 20 people included representatives of residents, activists and housing estate councillors. Over the course of several meetings over a mock-up, they and the project team discussed how the street should change. They were supported by external and municipal experts on urban planning, communication, safety. After discussions with them, they developed a set of recommendations for the designers. Thegeneral conclusion is that the residents wanted Ruska to be “green and blue “,” describes the process of developing the concept to Mayor of Wrocław Jacek Sutryk.

Ulica Ruska

It involved several meetings and work on a huge cardboard model of the entire Ruska Street. The civic meeting about the future of Ruska Street, showed that it is possible to meet different points of view, discuss the topic and come to common conclusions. To those who attended the meeting, Ruska Street appears greener, full of people not only heading to the Market Square, but also relaxing here and taking advantage of the retail and service offer,” sums up Krzysztof Ziental of the City Hall’s Social Participation Department.

The scope of the design documentation covers the section from Kazimierza Wielkiego Street to Solny Square. This is the most heavily trafficked section of the street in the Old Town.
It is 160 metres of a historic route where we want to make it green. We will certainly unseal the pavement and planting will appear, in various forms (trees, climbers, plant structures forming café gardens), the residents also emphasised ‘accessibility and safety of use’, understood as the free use of space without barriers. Thus, we will remove all stumbling blocks, such as high kerbs and off-road stairs, and the street level will be levelled with the pavement,” describes Monika Kozłowska-Święconek, director of the Office for Sustainable Mobility.

Ruska Street now and after revitalisation. Source: Google Maps and Wrocław City Hall

Car traffic is being restricted – access for services and delivery service for businesses will remain, and the street surface will be replaced – although not all of it. The old post-German rails, for example, will remain, as the provincial conservationist asks that they be preserved throughout the city.

We have preserved the axiality of the street and the elements that bear witness to the identity of this section of Ruska Street. These include the trackbed, the archaeological traces of the Ruska Gate and the historical building line between the arcades, which no longer exists. We want to remind residents and tourists of these elements of the past through the distinctive colour, material and composition of the floor surfaces in the witnesses of history, ” describes Magdalena Zienowicz, designer from the Budotechnika team.

Ruska Street now and after revitalisation. Source: Google Maps and City Hall of Wrocław

The proposals of the citizens of Wrocław from last year’s meeting are part of the city’s greening policy. Vines forming green walls appear here. The designers proposed solutions where we will use rainwater to water the plants planted here – e.g. in the openwork structure between the old tracks where, as it were, plants will grow from underground.

It was important for the participants of the civic meeting that the area be accessible for cyclists and pedestrians and for people with disabilities – we will level the street level with the pavement. ‘Transit’ journeys will disappear from Ruska Street, although there are also service establishments here – for them and local residents we will provide access related to getting to the car park or serving the shops. We willchange the lighting, which will firstly promote cultural life, but which will also be dimmed in the late evening and at night so as not to disturb local residents,” describes Monika Kozłowska-Święconek.

Ruska Street now and after revitalisation. Source: Google Maps and City Hall of Wrocław

There will be green restaurant gardens, cycle parking, benches and a square on the site of the former city gate. During construction, the contractor will have to take into account archaeological work in the area, as he may come across relics of the Ruska Gate, which was erected in this part of the city in the 13th century and demolished after 1807. Ruska Street is under the protection of the conservation officer, so the relevant design work will be agreed by the city with him.

At the intersection of Ruska and Psie Budy Streets, which is where you can see the exhibition, we are planning a meeting place with trees, urban furniture, plants and pots. We have planned such plants all along the street, which bloom and change colour at different times of the year. A little further down the street, where there is no arcade, a ‘living room in the urban space’. It will be a beautiful space,” enthuses designer Magdalena Zienowicz.

The construction project is expected to be ready this year, the cost of the changes on Ruska Street is estimated by the city at several million zlotys.

Source: Wrocław City Hall

Read also: Architecture | Metamorphosis | Greenery | City | Wrocław

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