On one of Buda's main bike routes, a connecting path between the Danube korzó and Mammut shopping center, street improvements are underway that actually reflect some sensitivity towards cyclists. From Mammut, the route runs along Varsányi Irén utca, across Fazekas utca, down Kacsa utca to Bem rakpart.
The work is mainly a cosmetic improvement involving the creation of red-brick intersections. In the course of the project, the road crew has significantly smoothed out the bumpy transitions between bike path, rain gutter and street. The project isn't quite finished, but when it's done, it should make for a smoother ride, as well as a much more attractive street.
In addition, at the entrance to the path across the körút from Mammut, they've added a strip of tarmac that basically follows the informal, dirt path that cyclists had made across a disused, awkwardly sited flowerbed. The bed was simply in the way, and the new strip of paving rectifies this problem.
Although I'm pleased about the improvements, I have to say the path remains fundamentally flawed. It's a perfect example of Budapest's generally backwards approach of putting bike paths on sidewalks. It's a single track on just one side of the street -- too narrow for two lanes of bike traffic and too wide not to interfere with pedestrians.
The obvious thing to do on a lightly trafficked side street like Varsányi Irén utca would be to designate it a maximum 30 km/hr zone and make the street shared space, where cyclists could mix with motorists with no need for separated lanes. It works quite well in other cities in Europe, including Paris.
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