Deputy mayor criticises location of new Metro staircase

Construction of new Metro entry on the newly-renovated Frederiksborggade is a bad idea according to Ayfer Baykal and area shop owners

The national rail infrastructure company, Banedanmark, has now started construction on a staircase on Frederiksborggade, between Nørreport and Kultorvet, leading to the Metro at Nørreport Station.

A two-year renovation of Købmagergade and Frederiksborggade, stretching from the shopping street Strøget to Nørreport Station, only just finished in January and shop owners have criticised the fact that the newly-completed street is being ripped up again to the tune of 157 million kroner.

“The staircase is completely unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers’ money,” Jens Slagter, the owner of a butcher shop near Kultorvet, told Politiken newspaper. He said he also finds is strange that Banedanmark is renovating Nørreport Station but will then leading people under it instead of having them enjoy the renovation and use one of the existing staircases to the Metro.

Copenhagen’s deputy mayor of technical and environmental affairs, Ayfer Baykal (Socialistisk Folkeparti) also criticised the new staircase.

"I acknowledge the need for another staircase to the Metro, but I am opposed to the location," Baykal told Politiken. "I don't think that the location has been discussed politically. At least not in the city's technical and environmental council."

The head of the inner city advocacy group Københavns City Center, Jan Michael Hansen, shared this view, and wrote to parliament's transport committee to express his concerns.

“We think that it is a fundamental problem that this solution near Nørreport has been chosen, as it the wrong decision in both the short-term and long-term,” Hansen wrote. “We expect traffic chaos during the construction and a hardly accessible main shopping street when the work is done.”

When Banedanmark's plans were first announced in 2012, Enhedslisten was the only party in parliament to vote against the construction, and the party maintains its opposition.

“You don’t have to be very intelligent to predict that the railing around the staircase will be used for bicycle parking and thus create even less space [between the shops and the stairs],” EL's traffic spokesperson Henning Hyllested told Politiken.

Metroselskabet's manager of costumer relations, Rebekka Nymark, admitted that it may be inconvenient for shops and costumers but said that staircase would be utilised by 20,000 people when it is ready.

“This is the place the technicians have found fit for the project. It is often an art of compromise when planning such constructions in the city,” Nymark told Politiken.