The Uplands Walkway stirred emotions from the start. What was written about her 40 years ago?

Thursday at midnight, the public consultations regarding the gateway in the Highlands end. We already know that the work put into service at the turn of the years 1982 and 1983 will be dismantled – the town hall asked the residents if they preferred a passage on the ground or a new passage instead. The discussion raises a lot of emotions – it turns out that it was no different when it was written, as reading the editions of “Dziennik Wieczorny” from that period shows.

Voting on access to tram stops along Wojska Polskiego Street began on April 7. In addition to the traditional online survey, a research walk took place in the catwalk area on Wednesday, April 20, as part of the public consultations. Despite heavy rain, several dozen people participated in the march, which began shortly after 5 p.m. Representatives of the BAK company answered questions from residents. They are the ones who prepared two draft solutions which were submitted to the inhabitants of Bydgoszcz for evaluation.

In discussions about the future of access to tram stops, the opinions of two groups – motorists and pedestrians – clash. – We noticed that the online surveys were mostly expressed by motorists in favor of leaving the bridge, because they want to have a smooth flow. Today, as you can see, pedestrians have a different opinion, they want the footbridge closed to facilitate access to tram stops – said the spokesman during the search walk ZDMiKP Tomasz Okonski.

Several associations of Bydgoszcz are favorable to the designation of a viaduct (Social Advocate for Pedestrians, Association for the Development of Public Transport, MODrzew, Bydgoska Masa Crityczna), Councilors of Wyżyny and Kapuściska Estate or City Councilor Paweł Bokiej. Proponents of building a new footbridge believe that in addition to ensuring smooth traffic flow in the Highlands area, it will provide greater safety for pedestrians. They also often use the argument that it is a modern solution (which is opposed by social activists).

The Highlands Gateway – History

At the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, the Highland Gateway, located above the two-lane avenue of the then Polish People’s Army, was to be a feature of modernity – especially as the route was designed as a fast connection between Szwederowo and Kapuściska with a tram line in the middle. According to ZDMiKP, the concept of crossing the Uplands was created in 1981. Its author was Jan Siuda (later director of ZDMiKP, known, among other things, for his loud statement about “narrow bikes”), then designer at Biuro Projektów Budownictwa Komunalnej.

In the year of the outbreak of martial law in Bydgoszcz, another footbridge, which no longer exists, was built – over Fordońska Street at the Romet bicycle factory. Its implementation, however – like many investments in the Polish People’s Republic – ran into “temporary difficulties”. – And our gateway? This is increasingly requested by Romet employees in Bydgoszcz, who were promised that in mid-1981 a pedestrian crossing would be built at their factory above Fordońska Street, which was very popular here. – we read in “Dziennik Wieczorny” of October 13, 1981.

As explained by the representative of the construction contractor – Zdzisław Pruś from the company Budprzem – its foundations were already ready for a long time, but the delay results “as everywhere” due to the lack of building materials and “drudgery assembly work of individual elements, which are made of sheet metal and not as before with rolled profiles”.

A short article on the delays in the construction of the Rometa footbridge, however, mentions the protagonist of the current consultations. – Next year (1982), “Budprzem” will start building another footbridge in Bydgoszcz. It will be built on the avenues of the LWP and will connect the BI Uplands to the B-IV. This time, the pedestrian crossing will be made of rolled profiles. Hopefully, in this case, the construction workers will not have the same difficulties as with the Fordońska footbridge – one of the editors of the Bydgoszcz afternoon newspaper expressed his hope.

The October 1981 text pointed out that construction of the bicycle factory would be ready by the end of the year. However, as it turned out later, we had to wait for the opening of the crossing until mid-1982. The same year – as promised – investment in the Uplands began. Martial law and the worsening economic crisis, however, caused people to start asking questions about the need to build it. – Does it really make sense to build them in the city now, when due to the shortage of contractors and raw materials, a number of extremely urgent tasks are on both shoulders? – “Dziennik” alarmed on October 13, 1982.

The editors – despite earlier optimism – pointed out that the footbridge over Fordon Road did not serve its purpose. – Anyone with a different opinion should see if it’s used. Apart from the contractors themselves, no pedestrian has yet passed it, even at rush hour. The catwalk is a formal obstacle course that requires almost gymnastic skills when climbing it – Contrary to appearances, these are not the arguments of the Pedestrian Social Ombudsman of 2022, but a continuation of the opinion of the editors of “Dziennik” from 40 years ago. As proof below, we put a newspaper clipping.

Two months later, “Wieczorny” reported that the footbridge in the Uplands was still not ready. At that time, however, a short note in the photo of the nearly-completed crossing called on the builders to finish construction early because “bystanders are getting stuck in the mud.” The construction above the alleys of the People’s Army of Poland was completed in early 1983 – we have not yet established the exact date of its opening. However, on March 2, 1983, the afternoon report announced that the Uplands footbridge had been commissioned and…that it was causing problems. The first of these was the location of the stops, distant for the time of the construction of the structure.

When the footbridge goes into operation, buses going to the city center literally stop under the footbridge (i.e. at the old square), while cars going to the Highlands and Glinki remain about ten meters behind. And that’s what passengers don’t like. A few concrete slabs piled on the lawn, mud from rolling snow and soggy dirt – that’s no deal breaker. If you want to get to the catwalk, you need to flexibly bend over irregularities – argued “Evening Newspaper”. And he suggested using the paved square next to the level crossing, which however was covered with sand. – We need to put some order, and it’s high time to do it – the publisher encouraged.

However, after the gateway was opened in the highlands, Dziennik editors received signals that the passage did not serve the inhabitants of the estate; especially the older ones. – We have received many signals from them lately that they are not happy with the new transition. The fairly steep stairs make climbing them particularly inconvenient for some. Therefore, they postulate the restoration of the “flat passage” through al. LWP instead of the recently liquidated – ahead of Grzymała-Siedlecki. Can this be done? The newspaper wonders. After 40 years it may be possible to do this – or a new one will be built in place of the old footbridge.

Consultations on the future of the Upland crossing end today (April 28) at midnight. Vote using the consultation card available on the site www.bydgoszcz.pl/wyzyny.

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