St. Pölten, Austria, Rathausplatz, Source: Ralf Roletschek / [CC BY 3.0]

Saint Polten attempts to alleviate traffic problems

Saint Polten attempts to alleviate traffic problems

A new underground parking garage under the world-famous Saint Polten Cathedral will be opening its doors

Saint Polten, St. Polten or Sankt Polten, the capital and the largest city in the Austrian state of Lower Austria will be implementing an innovative solution to its parking problems. In order to preserve its world-famous central cathedral square, local authorities have decided to place a parking lot right under the episcopal gardens in the town.

City councilor Matthias Stadler and Bishop Alois Schwarz jointly announced that "The underground car park under the episcopal garden will be implemented.". The Bishop stated that together with the local authorities, they want to support the development of the “cathedral city” and to consider an eventual capital of culture bid. In order to achieve such lofty ambitions, however, St. Polten will have to prove itself ready – the construction of this underground parking garage is precisely what it needs.

Resolving issues in a sustainable way

The green light for the project answered one of the main questions in terms of St. Polten’s urban planning – the status of the cathedral square as a car-free zone. By developing the underground garage, local authorities believe that they have found a solution to some of the traffic problems plaguing the city. Placing the parking lot under the square will allow for it to be transformed into a pedestrian-only zone.

Vice mayor Matthias Adl from the Greens stated that while the project will certainly be unable to cover all the needs of citizens, it is a good step forward. He again points to one of the most important effects of the implementation of the project – that the cathedral square will be entirely car-free.

Yet the lack of concrete ideas is concerning not only to the opposition parties in the City Council but to citizens as well. Currently, nobody knows of a timetable for the project’s completion or how many cars it will be able to house. At most, the local authorities can be described as being cautiously optimistic about the project.



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