Berlin set an example with the pop-up cycle paths - the traffic urban development plan is now meeting with criticism
Photo: Sabine Brose / Frank Sorge / imago images
Berlin wants to reduce car traffic by the end of the decade, while the capital is to become more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly.
This is provided for in the urban development plan for mobility and traffic by Transport Senator Regine Günther, which the Senate has approved.
However, the politician has failed with her plan to close the city in two concrete steps for cars with diesel and gasoline engines.
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The government paper plans to increase the share of buses, trains, pedestrians and cyclists in the distances covered from 74 percent today to at least 82 percent in 2030 - at the expense of car traffic.
In detail, 23 percent should be accounted for by bicycle traffic, 29 percent by local public transport and 30 percent by foot traffic.
Better rail links to the surrounding area
In order to achieve these goals, the street space will be redistributed: Areas that were previously reserved for parked cars will in future benefit other road users, announced Günther.
And more parking spaces should be chargeable.
more on the subject
Paris and Barcelona beat Berlin: Germany missed the traffic turnaround by Holger Dambeck and Patrick Stotz
Urban planners are also in demand: "We want the new urban districts to be designed with little cars," said the green politician.
In addition, the tram network should continue to grow and the surrounding area should also be better connected by rail.
Left for internal combustion engine
The most controversial innovation, however, is the so-called Zero Emission Zone, in which vehicles with internal combustion engines are not allowed.
Such a zone should serve climate protection and air pollution control.
However, the plan caused a dispute between the coalition partners.
The zone is now only aimed for in the medium term.
Günther had fought to allow only emission-free cars to be driven within the S-Bahn ring by 2030 and throughout the city by 2035.
In the new urban development plan, however, no more annual figures are mentioned.
According to the Berlin media, the decision failed because of the veto of the left-wing faction.
The withdrawal outraged some traffic experts.
"With the new urban development plan for transport, the Berlin Senate has filed for climate policy insolvency," criticizes transport researcher Andreas Knie from the Berlin Science Center.
"The traffic turnaround in Berlin has been canceled."
The plan does not change the priority of the car
In addition, according to the scientist, the Senate does too little to counteract the dominance of the car.
In Berlin, this is involved in 25 percent of daily journeys and covers 40 percent of the passenger kilometers, according to Knie.
"Nevertheless, 65 percent of the traffic area is available."
Berlin charges too few parking fees, complains Knie and concludes: "At the moment the plan is just a series of wonderful declarations of intent." And yet, unlike Stuttgart or Munich, you don't even have a large car industry in the city that you have to take into account.
Berlin is not at eye level with Barcelona or Paris
A lot is happening, especially at the district level.
For example, the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg made headlines around the world in the corona crisis with pop-up bike paths set up at short notice and found numerous imitators.
Berlin seemed to be on a par with cities like Barcelona or Paris, which are pushing for bicycle and pedestrian-friendly redevelopment of their inner cities.
But criticism also came from the local ADAC, which complained about an »ideologically shaped ad hoc mentality«.
Only when alternatives are strengthened can we think about how to sensibly reduce car traffic, not the other way around, said Transport Director Volker Krane.
"For the time being, future mobility in Berlin is unthinkable without a car," says Krane.
The Berlin state coalition has thus accomplished an unusual feat: it has annoyed the car club and car critics alike.
Icon: The mirror