Wednesday, June 5, 2013

High-water commute

Along the Romai part bike path.
The Danube's flooding in Budapest again, and as the water was rising, I rode down to Romai part yesterday afternoon to see the preparations.

Every buffet and restaurant was closed and everything that wasn't anchored down had been moved to higher ground. The water had already covered parts of the bike path, making it impossible to ride the whole length of the embankment without taking inland detours.

Many of the property owners down here, including the boat houses and the concession stands, will just let their properties get flooded. Some of the homes, though, are surrounded by big barricades and they were fortifying these with sandbags in hopes of keeping dry.

The lowest-lying bierstube along here, Fellini bisztro, consists of a repurposed diner car and a bunch of beach furniture. It had all been trucked away by the time I arrived Tuesday around 6 p.m.

Public controversy has erupted over a plan to create a mobile dike along this section of Romai part. It would involve bulldozing earth some 50 metres into the river and cutting down scores willow and cottonwood trees along a bank that's popular precisely because of its natural state. Along with boat houses and beer stands, people come to Romai part for recreational rides on the Eurovelo 6 international bike route.

The dike proposal is driven by the owners of some newer developments that displaced old, flood-friendly boat houses. They shouldn't have been granted building permits, but they were, and now they have the support of the Budapest Municipality for a HUF 4 billion flood protection project to protect their properties.

These plans are now awaiting technical approvals from river protection authorities. If the level of this flood exceeds the height of the planned new bulwark, it will be proven a vain effort. The river level is expected to to crest over the weekend. We'll see what happens.

Protecting some private houses. This wall runs intermittently along the inland side of the bike path. Protesters against the proposed Romai part "mobile dike" have promoted an alternative plan that would involve strengthening and filling in the missing gaps of this wall.

The entrance to Matyas Kiraly ut will be closed to seal this gap in the existing flood wall.

Water rising at a boat house launching dock.

This bike rack was one of the few things not taken away in the evalcuation of the Fellini bisztro.

Same place as above, circa July 2011, during dryer times.

Part of the Fellini's kitchen also stayed behind.

This section of the Romai part bike path was already impassable Tuesday.

Closed due to flooding.

To the right, one of the new flood-averse developments on the Romai part.

The south end of the Romai part bike path is closed til further notice.

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