Pedestrians to Take Over Budapest’s Liberty Bridge on Weekends Once Again
Fanni Kaszás 2019.07.04.
Following the great success of Budapest’s Liberty Bridge’s transformation into an ad-hoc park in previous summers, this year it will once again be closed to automobile and tram traffic for four ‘Szabihíd’ weekends where pedestrians can take over the bridge from Saturday morning until midnight on Sunday.
The “Szabihíd” (Liberty Bridge) Project was launched as a spontaneous grassroots initiative in 2016. The temporary closure of Liberty Bridge for the past two years has been a great success. This year, the bridge is closed on the weekends of July and hosts various cultural and entertainment programs.
In the summer of 2016, the closure of Budapest’s Liberty Bridge due to tram line renovations meant it was closed to traffic, but open to pedestrians. Taking advantage of this, city residents and tourists alike transformed the city’s shortest Danube crossing into an open-air picnic and party zone suspended above the waves of the river (be sure to check out our photo galleries of the excitement!).
Following the spontaneous bridge-transformation, in 2017, a number of civil society groups petitioned the city council to make the bridge a pedestrian-only area on weekends as well. In the last two years, Liberty Bridge transformed for four weekends into an ad-hoc park and picnic space with various programs from concerts, morning yoga classes, circus and theater performances, movie screenings, and even a holy mass on one of the weekends.
The organizers, the City and River Association (Valyo) – cooperating with Pro Progressione – is working on ways to better appreciate and make use of the riverbank. The Danube, which is the biggest, most characteristic natural treasure of the city, is bordered by roads and is almost impossible to access. The association aims to show that there are a lot of exciting, inspiring places on the banks of the river, which are mostly neglected by city officials. The bridge will be a traffic-free public space beginning this weekend, from Saturday morning until Sunday midnight.