Children and Youth

We are improving the safety of children around schools


The Capital City presented the final planning solutions for Vazovova and Mudroňova streets. The temporary solutions for these two projects sparked many reactions and partly justified criticism. The final construction solutions were developed based on the experience and feedback of residents in relation to the temporary solutions and will lead to a substantial improvement in the quality, service and, above all, safety of children in these vulnerable places.

Increasing the safety of children on the streets of Bratislava has for a long time been a communicated priority of the city management, and it is therefore logical to start with increasing the safety of children in the vicinity of schools. Bratislava has more than 90 primary schools. Since 2022, the City Magistrate, together with the Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava, has already included 11 of them in the City for Children programme aimed at increasing the safety of children when moving in public spaces. In the case of seven schools, specific adjustments to the surroundings have already been implemented.

Complicated and even chaotic situations in front of schools at the beginning and end of classes, when many pedestrians and vehicles move in a small space, are common aspects of most schools. Therefore, the main goal of all the modifications is to increase the safety of children. These include raised crossings and a new layout of an intersection or parking, but the final solutions always depend on the specific conditions and spatial arrangement of each school. In addition, new, small public spaces can also be created as a by-product of these solutions.

But the truth is, even the best traffic analyses and simulations may not predict with 100% accuracy the outcome of a change in the streets. Therefore, following the example of other cities, these changes are first made as temporary modifications, e.g., using asphalt paint or plastic pillars. These will quickly provide the essence of the given change, but without significant expenses. A permanent solution is then implemented only after the change has been verified. The involvement of residents, parents and schools is fundamental in this, because they know the surroundings of the schools best. Based on their suggestions and needs, a proposal for a temporary solution is created, and then, based on their experience with the temporary changes, the final construction solution can be proposed.

In some cases, the desired effect is achieved immediately, and the final construction solution transforms the original design into better materials and surfaces with only minor modifications. In other cases, the originally proposed solution must be modified more radically. Vazovova and Mudroňova streets are examples of both.

One of the main goals of the adjustments on Vazovova Street was to change the geometry and location of the intersection with Mýtna, where many children move on their way to school and cars entered this intersection at high speed. By moving the traffic lane to a safer position and creating a new pedestrian crossing and places for short stops, a new space painted on the asphalt, bordered by plastic cones, was also created. It should be emphasised that the creation of this space was only a by-product, and it was certainly not meant to be a play space, as some have claimed. But it is true that the painted surface was confusing and could have been used more efficiently.

In the final construction solution, the size of the new space and the new layout of the intersection remains almost the same as in the temporary solution. However, the use and character of the new space are completely different. High-quality paved pedestrian corridors separated from the road by green lines and curbs, lots of new greenery and trees where there once was asphalt, bike racks, benches, a brand-new pedestrian crossing at places where people used to cross the road too often, and also a place for short stopping of cars. The modifications on Vazovova Street created 10 places for parking or getting out of the car. This can be considered a win-win solution from the point of view of both security and service.

At the Mudroňova Primary School, a new space with asphalt colours was created, through which children could move more safely, as well as new places for short stops. However, the specific situation around this school and the rules for picking up children from the school showed that there were far from enough pick-up places, and the problematic traffic as well as the movement of children through a complex busy intersection had not improved enough. Therefore, based on several meetings with the school and parents, the form of the entire change was significantly modified.

Directly on Mudroňova Street, 6 parking spaces will be created in completely new areas for short-term parking for parents and another 4 parking spaces in the area in front of the hotel. Together with 6 spaces for 20-minute parking on Myjavská, a total of 16 short-term parking spaces will be created as part of the modifications to this area. A short stopping lane was also added, where 4 cars or school buses, for which it was previously complicated to load students directly on the Mudroňova Street through road, can stop at the same time.

But most importantly, the safety of children’s movement has been increased significantly here with four new raised crossings in all directions to the school, including through Mudroňova Street. This means that children exiting public transport in the direction from the centre will also smoothly walk along the sidewalks and raised crossing to the school on the other side of the busy road. The new surfaces will be made of high-quality Bratislava paving, and new greenery will be added instead of asphalt. From the point of view of safety and service, this is again a win-win solution.

“I understand that temporary solutions using elements such as paint on asphalt are relatively new in our region and are often misunderstood or considered ridiculous. However, it is not just a whim; it is a world-proven and effective approach to future change. I therefore ask for some patience when temporary solutions sometimes need to be modified. Actually, that’s exactly what they are for. In the end, a city that is safe for children is just as safe and pleasant for us as well,” said Matúš Vallo, the Mayor of Bratislava, in this context.

The city will start implementing the changes as soon as the summer holidays begin.