All posts by Gudrun Eickelberg

A Never-Ending Story

The never-ending story about the illegally parked car of the key cutting company in Bremen’s Wachmannstraße rumbles on. Little has changed since our last post in summer 2017. The yellow car still sits day and night on the pavement directly on top of the guidance system for visually impaired citizens.

Councillors searching for evidence

During the summer holidays the little yellow obstacle did not appear, but straight after the hols it went back to „normal“. Local councillors and others repeatedly pointed this violation of existing law out to the police, but the bobbies did not seem to believe in it. They showed a „Who are you?“ attitude. And they did not want to check it, not even by their colleague who cycles in this area every day.

The speaker of the Schwachhausen council finally filed a charge. So the police happily gave her some tasks: Take photos, note date and time, but not just that: take a second picture four minutes later, otherwise there is no evidence for parking. But if you look into the German highway code (StVO) you realize all this is not necessary. §12 tells you: „Parking happens if you leave your car or stay with your car for more than 3 minutes in one place.“ So leaving your car is enough evidence for parking. A picture of an empty car without a driver is sufficient. But our reliable councillor took her pictures – click ….4 minutes of waiting….click. She did that for a quite of lot of times and finally handed her production over to the police. What happened? Nothing.

4th January and 13th January

Questionnaire as an incentive?

After her request about her charge she was told by „the guardians of the law“ that the car owner received a questionnaire. The result is amazing: Now his yellow obstacle appears even more often and stays for longer than before – for days it is not moved, blocking the access to the tram for disabled people.

8th January, early and late evening

Now the tram has to stop in a way that her back part doesn’t reach the tram stop area any more. And even other cars have started to copy the behaviour of the yellow car driver.

So, what is going on?

So our police – for whatever reason – openly supports illegal parking that obstructs and jeopardises other citizens. Our key cutter relies on their support. The guardians of the law have decided to prioritise convenient car parking over the rights of disabled people, and a small company gets a free licence for illegal parking. It’s pointless trying to point out the legal situation, to deliver evidence or file a charge. Even the appeals of the local council and its subcommittees are dismissed. 

This story is a metaphor for a dominant (though thankfully not all-encompassing) stream of thought in Bremen’s upper echelons. Where there is limited public road space, prioritise cars, and even parked cars, over sustainable modes of transport, even when this disadvantages the already disadvantaged.

Creeping Parking Disease

We’ve got a short update on our story of the keycutter from Schwachhausen. As readers may recall, a key-cutting service on Wachmannstrasse was repeatedly parking its service vehicles right outside the shop, blocking the guiding system for visually-impaired tram users at the tram stop. At first the police didn’t recognise the problem, but when informed chose to do nothing. Continue reading Creeping Parking Disease

The Key Stone Cop Out

In Bremen-Schwachhausen, or to be precise, Wachmannstrasse, there is a key cutting shop. On most working days, you’ll see its yellow or white company car parked outside. Very normal, right? Well no. The car is actually parked at a tram stop, right on top of a guiding system where visually impaired people can orient themselves with their sticks on a ripple. In other words, it’s parked illegally.

Continue reading The Key Stone Cop Out

Illegal parking – Unavoidable Evil or Misplaced Tolerance?

The explosion in private transport is a major problem for our cities. A growing number of cars are increasingly dominating our public space, pushing cyclists and pedestrians to the edge. Bremen is no different. However, unlike a number of other European cities, here the struggle for space is left to people on the ground, inevitably benefitting the strongest – car traffic.

Continue reading Illegal parking – Unavoidable Evil or Misplaced Tolerance?

Scharnhorststraße Cycle Street Plans – Who Benefits?

scharnhorststrasse
Scharnhorststrasse

Last month, on 24th November, the Office for Road Traffic (ASV) made public its plans for the conversion of Scharnhorststraße to a Cycle Street. The project, part of the city’s  Traffic Development Plan (VEP) 2025, was presented to the meeting of the Advisory Council Schwachhausen on 24.11.2016.

Continue reading Scharnhorststraße Cycle Street Plans – Who Benefits?

Bremen Cycle Streets: Too Compromised?

Cycle Streets are an important issue in Bremen. Over the coming weeks we’ll be publishing a short series of  posts on the theme. The first comes from Gudrun Eickelberg, a Green politician and artist.

In recent years, Bremen’s status as a Cycling City has been officially articulated by setting up a number of so-called Fahrradstraßen – Cycle Streets. For example, Bremen’s Transport Development Plan 2025 states that “Cycle Streets (…) are to be established in the main cycle network and in roads with an important connection function and high cycling traffic”.

Continue reading Bremen Cycle Streets: Too Compromised?