There are quite a few mobility problems in Verkhnyi Val (Ukr. “Upper Rampart”) and Nizhnyi Val (Ukr. “Lower Rampart”) parallel streets: parked sidewalks, underpasses, no bicycle lane, and cars stuck in constant traffic jams along with public transport. The city is going to fix these problems during a redevelopment that has been discussed for several years. However, while making changes to the street, one should not only solve mobility problems but also consider the remaining downsides.
The public space should be expanded on Valy. At this point, the sidewalks do not correspond to the number of pedestrians and activity on the first floors. Walking on narrow sidewalks is tricky as you must constantly bypass chaotic trade stands and summer playgrounds. Moreover, there are almost no trees along the sidewalks, so walking there becomes even more uncomfortable in the heat.
It is necessary to fix the outdated drainage system used in Podil, particularly in the Valy area. Sewage built in the middle of the 19th century runs along the Hlybochytsia river bed amidst the boulevard. Now it is gradually falling apart. This was the reason why for two years in a row, there was a green fence on the boulevard near the Zhytnii rynok (Ukr. “Rye Market”), which covered the pit to the river.
Wastewater flows in the sewage. According to the current Kyiv General Plan, a sewage treatment plant was planned to be installed at the end of the sewage near the Dnipro. However, at this moment, there is only a pit under the interchange. Every downpour, rainwater with motor oils, without any filtration, enters the water near the Dnipro riverside and the river.
In the third year of the urban design course, we developed the project of Kozhumiatska Ploshcha at the entrance to Podil District. We have now decided to reorganise the Valy based on the solutions we came up with during the design process. In the Valy reconstruction project, we propose correcting mobility problems, expanding public space, and creating a sustainable wastewater collection system. Through this, the street will meet modern requirements for developing sustainable and people-centric cities.
Novi Valy (Ukr. “New Ramparts”; the concept name for the streets after the reconstruction) should solve mobility problems. First of all, it is necessary to focus on the movement of people, not cars, and give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
We made Verkhniy Val a pedestrian zone and transferred the tram line to it. This way, the tram will run separately from car traffic and avoid being regularly stuck in traffic jams. A two-way bicycle lane was located in the middle of the boulevard. Two car lanes were moved to Nizhnyi Val, simplifying all intersections and decreasing the number of conflicts between cars and pedestrians.
The parking lanes were removed to widen the sidewalks, and one lane of trees was moved from the boulevard to the side of Nizhnyi Val. If necessary, we can add a fifth lane for public transport or a parking lane for cars at the green area site of Nizhnyi Val.
The final decision on the reorganisation of traffic must be made after a comprehensive review of the mobility map in Podil. The future developments are to be taken into account: the construction of the interchange at Valy, the change of the traffic map due to the closure of Kontraktova Ploshcha, and the implementation of the Concept of Integrated Development of the Podil District.
The Novi Valy project will make greening more functional. We usually take trees only as a chance to hide in the shade on a hot day; bushes and flowers are merely urban decorations. Nonetheless, the role of greening in the city is much more significant.
Every year, the precipitation in Kyiv increases, and the worn-out rainwater sewers cannot immediately divert water from the streets. Because of this, our streets often turn into rivers, and once a year, even into small lakes. During a downpour, all oils, petrol, and other waste are washed off the roads and enter the Dnipro and its tributaries through the sewage system. Sometimes domestic sewage is illegally connected to these networks, which causes the water to become contaminated with bacteria dangerous to humans.
One of the oldest sewage channels of Podil runs along the Hlybochytsia River in the middle of Valy and collects rainwater from adjacent neighbourhoods. It would seem that one should only repair the channel and install a sewage treatment plant, and everything would be fine. However, this way, we will only defer the problem without actually solving it.
An increasing number of cities worldwide are switching to an alternative option for water drainage and rainwater treatment. They achieve water drainage through green areas with the proper selection of plants and soils. To clean the rainwater that drains from the neighbourhoods around Valy to Hlybochytsia, we have arranged two cleaning green zones: one along the sidewalk near Nizhnyi Val, the second between the tram and the boulevard on Verkhnyi Val. Rainwater will enter the sewage, gradually pass through the soil, and flow clean to the Dnipro. We want to bring Hlybochytsa back to the surface.
Novi Valy should make public space more functional and comfortable. Currently, it is easy to notice that Valy Streets divide Podil into Staryi Podil (Ukr. “Old Podil”), full of fascinating places, cafés, restaurants, and bars to visit, and more "sleepy" Ploskyi Podil (Ukr. “Flat Podil”). After the potential reconstruction, these two areas may become wholly separated. We want Valy, on the contrary, to stitch Podil together and become one of the important public spaces of the district.
Currently, the main flows of pedestrians coming from Kontraktova Ploshcha metro station, public transport stops, and intercity buses pass through Valy. Exhibitions, food distribution to the homeless, and informal concerts are held in the middle of Valy. Most Podil businesses, restaurants, cafés, and bars are located in the surrounding neighbourhoods. An intuitive and comfortable space should be established for the people who use Valy Streets for various activities and live around them.
By widening the boulevard and combining it with the Verkhnyi Val sidewalk, we acquire a single pedestrian zone through which trams will sometimes pass. In front of the first active floors, there will be enough space to place summer playgrounds, and pedestrians will be able to walk to the boulevard without crossing traffic lanes.
At the same time, we will create four new squares along the Verkhnyi Val. Two of them, Kozhumiatska Ploshcha and Zhytniotorzka Ploshcha, existed here a hundred years ago as marketplaces. At the intersection with Kostiantynivska Street, we will arrange a square that will provide a convenient pedestrian connection between the exit from the metro station and tram and bus stops. We will also expand the sports area at the intersection with Mezhyhirska Street.
The intersection of Valy Streets with Kostiantynivska Street
The intersection of Valy Streets with Kostiantynivska Mezhyhirska Street
The project was made by