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Pest Danube embankment, Source: VALYO

Part of Pest Danube embankment becomes experimental recreational space

Part of Pest Danube embankment becomes experimental recreational space

The section between Parliament and Chain Bridge will otherwise remain unused due to ongoing reconstruction works nearby

A section of the Pest Danube embankment will be converted into “an experimental, creative public space” between 18 June and 15 August, the mayor’s chief of staff, Samu Balogh, announced on Facebook.

Taking advantage of nearby closures 

The 800 metre section of József Antall quay stretching between Kossuth Square and Chain Bridge will remain unused for a long period of time due to the ongoing renovation of the lower quay between Margaret Bridge and Kossuth Square, and the reconstruction of Chain Bridge. Therefore, the Municipality of Budapest, in collaboration with Budapest Brand non-profit Zrt. and City and River Association VALYO, have decided to see how the busy quay could function as a pedestrian-only recreational and leisure area.  

To this end, in the area of ​​70 000 square metres, half of which is asphalt surface, 100 pieces of potted plants are placed,   picnic tables and deck chairs are installed, and football, tennis and badminton courts as well as hopscotch are drawn on the ground. The lack of shade could become a problem during sunny periods, but organizers have decided against covering the quay with large tarpaulins. No commercial activities or events will take place in the new recreational area and car traffic will not be restricted, as it has been diverted anyway due to the reconstruction works nearby.

Integral to Budapest development plan

The budget of the recreational space is HUF 10 million (EUR 29,000). If the experiment proves to be successful, similar projects can be implemented once the renovations of the lower quay and Chain Bridge are over.

Balogh stressed that the new project, along with the regular weekend openings of the lower Pest embankment to pedestrians, are an integral part of the development plan of the Municipality of Budapest called “Otthon Budapesten” (“Home in Budapest”), which aims to make the capital an open, green, opportunity-creating city.

Reconstruction of Chain Bridge

The second phase of the reconstruction of Budapest’s iconic Chain Bridge has begun with a temporary halt to river traffic in the area. Mayor Gergely Karácsony told a press conference yesterday that the City is moving ahead with the project worth  HUF 26.5 billion (EUR 75.4 million) despite municipal revenues being depleted by the Covid-19 epidemic and government austerity. He said the government part of the expenditure has not arrived to this date, and called on “all political players to stop trying to turn public opinion against the investment even if they cannot help.”

The overhaul of Chain Bridge will comprise reconstruction of the central lanes and the pavements, reparation and rust-proofing of steel structures and rails, re-insulation of the chain-chambers, installing flood protection elements and new LED lighting. The landmark lion statues will also be restored. The Mayor promised that the bridge will be ready by the 150th anniversary of the unification of Pest, Buda and Óbuda into Budapest in August 2023.

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