Thursday, 9 July 2015

Democracy civilises - at the local level

A day early - here they are, the results of last month's Participatory Budget for Warsaw, Ursynow and indeed Jeziorki. And looking at the Jeziorki results, a stunning victory for the Karczunkowska pavement, which topped the poll! Well, not the whole two kilometres, just the short stretch from ul. Puławska to ul. Sarabandy. But this is a start. It's the most dangerous stretch for two reasons - one is forced to walk along the roadway, as there is no pavement at all for some 80m, secondly because primary schoolchildren must use this thoroughfare to get from the bus stop on Karczunkowska to their school round the corner on Sarabandy.

Further excellent news - the traffic calming proposition - all residential roads in Jeziorki and Pyry to have speed limits of 30km/h ("Twenty's Plenty" in mph) with signage and speed bumps - also made it onto the list. All the rat runners trying to escape the traffic jams on ul. Puławska by taking to the side streets will know they are breaking the law if they drive egregiously.

And for residents of Jeziorki, our recultivated lake will have a proper park placed around it, with a footpath/cyclepath in place of the muddy track. This means anglers will have to walk to their favourite spot, rather than churning up the un-asphalted part of ul. Dumki. An outdoor fitness park, where we can all get fit, is also in the plan. The nearby ponds, Wąsal and the one on ul. Pozytywki, will get litter-bins.

In total, 1,079,000 złotys will be spent on the Jeziorki lakeside park, 17,500 złotys on the pavement and 100,000 złotys on traffic calming measures.

A project that didn't make it (it was too expensive at 800,000 złotys) was a proposition to run a bus route down ul. Baletowa from ul. Puławska to W-wa Dawidy station. This would have necessitated a brand new bus terminus at the station, widening the road substantially between ul. Farbiarska and Puławska, and making a new junction allowing traffic to turn left onto Puławska from Baletowa. Maybe next year...

An entirely separate project that has been promised is the widening of Puławska all the way from Piaseczno to Wilanowska, allowing for bus lanes in both directions. Like the local participatory budget projects set out above, everything should be ready by 2016.

The way the voting was conducted was excellent. Full consultation, a local meeting, plenty of information in the local press and online. Citizens were told the total size of the budget they could vote for and the cost of each project. However, voting - which was carried out mainly online - was thin, with only 7.8% of those eligible to vote actually bothering to do so, far fewer than the 15% turnout last year. Which gives more power to the activists.

I guess this is because last year's process was poorly constructed. All the money went to just one expensive - though necessary - project, this may have put people off. Yet this year there was a greater choice, more information and a clearer process. I hope that once citizens see the fruits of this year's participatory budget actually being delivered, there'll be a greater turnout for the 2016 vote.

I look forward to seeing progress and development accelerating in Jeziorki!

Thanks to Marcin Daniecki for the tip-off!

This time last year:
Rustic retreat rained off

This time three years ago:
Thunderstorm over Jeziorki

This time four years ago:
Getting lost on top of Łopień

This five six years ago:
Regulatory absurdities in Poland

This time seven years ago:
Czachówek and Alignment

This time eight years ago:
Joy, pain, sunshine, rain


Ian Wilcock said...

I wonder when the residents of Zgorzla will get a similar scheme to vote for their preferred projects. I assume they don't as I have seen nothing concerning this locally.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Ian Wilcock

Zgorzała lies (just) beyond Warsaw's borders and is part of Gmina Lesznowola, Powiat Piaszeczeński.

When we were in the process of moving to Jeziorki back in 2001, there was a big debate locally about voting to shift Warsaw's borders so that Jeziorki would be in Lesznowola. This was mainly because Lesznowola was - at that time - so much better governed than suburban Warsaw. But since then Warsaw has upped its game, I don't think anyone in Jeziorki would want to leave Warsaw and become part of Lesznowola!