Sunday, 26 May 2013

W-wa Dawidy, W-wa Jeziorki, Nowa Iwiczna - three railway stations in need of repair

SISKOM, the Warsaw transport think-tank, published a report last week about the dire state of the capital's stations from the point of view of disabled access*. The report states that only 14 of Warsaw's 49 stations are currently accessible by the disabled (29%). Only six have any bicycle-parking facilities. Ten have wheelchair lifts that have been vandalised or are otherwise not functioning [bring back the stocks]. Only three have warning strips and tactile guiding paths for the visually impaired as stipulated in European Standards** (W-wa Lotnisko "Chopina", W-wa Centralna and W-wa Stadion).

Our local stations, W-wa Jeziorki and W-wa Dawidy (one stop closer to the city centre) were singled out for not having hardened access to the platforms from the road. And of course no warning strips nor tactile paths.

A big thanks, then, to Marcin Daniecki who visited the two stations - plus Nowa Iwiczna (one stop beyond Warsaw's city limits) to record the current state, in the year of Our Lord 2013, in the ninth year of Poland's membership of the European Union, in the 24th year since the downfall of communism.

Let's start at W-wa Dawidy, which for a long time lacked even a station sign to inform passengers as to where they were.

As mentioned by SISKOM - not even a lick of asphalt between platform and road.

No barriers, but not in the sense SISKOM meant it. No barriers, no lights, no gatekeeper, no audible warnings - just a few roadsigns. The level crossing on ul. Baletowa. A potentially fatal spot on the Warsaw-Radom main line.
Improvised platform access at the north end of the station, a sign that PKP PLK tacitly accept that passengers leave the station this way too.
A yellow line warns the normally sighted of the edge of the platform, but it's a potentially fatal trip-hazard. No sign of tactile guiding paths or any aids for the blind.

Now onto W-wa Jeziorki, the station at the epicentre of this blog. Like W-wa Dawidy, there no hardened access from the road to the platform. Unlike W-wa Dawidy, W-wa Jeziorki does have an adjacent bus stop, a proper manned level crossing with barriers, and a impromptu Park+Ride (drivers leaving their cars higgledy-piggledy along the muddy verges of ul. Gogolińska).

I've mentioned before the dangerous pedestrian crossing at W-wa Jeziorki; no pavement means you're forced to share the roadway...

...with oncoming cars and trucks. This is totally unacceptable in this day and age.

Passengers making their way to the bus stop would rather cross the track than risk the road. The railway authorities would rather that people died on the busy road with no pavement than risk being hit by a (infrequent) train - so they put up a barrier here. But people will still go over it or under it rather than use the dangerous road.

As the SISKOM report mentions, just like W-wa Dawidy, W-wa Jeziorki boasts only a muddy track linking platform and road rather than a paved or asphalted path.
And now onto Nowa Iwiczna. No longer in Warsaw, it is in Zone 2 of the Warsaw Agglomeration transport network. One stop beyond W-wa Jeziorki, and your quarterly ticket no longer costs 250zł, but 474zł, a daily ticket not 15zł but 24zł. This is a big disincentive for the just-out-of-towners to use public transport.

Proper pavement! Proper Park+Ride! Boy, Nowa Iwiczna's got it all!

Well, not quite. Uneven and again potentially fatal platform edges...

...unguarded level crossing...

.... and because Nowa Iwiczna station is built on a curve, there's an even greater gap between the train and the platform. "Mind the gap"? "Mind the gulf" more like.

All photos: Marcin Daniecki.

*When it comes to disabled access, London is far worse, by the way. Try crossing platforms at Castlebar Park, the nearest station to my parents' house, in a wheelchair or with a pram, for example. Few London Underground stations have wheelchair access.

** Here are the UK government's guidelines regarding disabled accessibility to railway stations.

This time last year:
Late evening, Śródmieście

This time two years ago:
Ranking a better life

This time three years ago:
Paysages de Varsovie

This time four years ago:
Spring walk, twilight time

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