The Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse in the Neustadt district of Bremen is heavily congested, or better said: a four-lane traffic hell. People who live on this road are exposed to unbearable levels of noise and air pollution every day. Because this road – 30 m wide, then 60 m wide before it turns into the Wilhelm-Kaisen-Bridge – offers generous space for motorized traffic. Pedestrians and cyclists, on the other hand, have to share the narrow (4 m) sidewalk, and can hardly ever cross the road safely.
Should this be the case? Is this appropriate for a modern urban environment?
People who are involved with transport politics are continuously confronted with the issue of safety. Bike lanes are rejected, supposedly because of safety, while others demand them for exactly the same reasons. Cycling on the road is recommended by some as being safer, while others strongly reject such use for exactly the same reasons.
In discussions around cycle transportation, so-called „objective safety“ is pitted against a subjective sense of safety and comfort. In the Netherlands “sustainable safety” is recommended, Copenhagen prioritises „subjective safety.“ And now there’s a new version, the “Protected Bike Lane.“ This starts sounding somewhat complicated, so we need to clarify: What is being discussed? Who is saying what about safety, and why?
Sunday night on the way home from the swimming pool my 8 year old daughter and I were almost run over by a car turning left into the crosswalk where we were (legally!) crossing the street.
Unfortunately we experience similar situations several times a week, since traffic enforcement in Bremen is dying out, and frustrated car drivers take their aggression out on the “weak.” This incident occurred at the intersection of Kirchweg and Kornstrasse in the Neustadt, just seconds away from our front door.
Fahrradstraßen – Cycle Streets – are seen, alongside cycle lanes, cycle tracks, protective strips and more, as a tool to promote cycling. The basic concept – according to Germany’s road traffic regulations – is a road without motor traffic: Continue reading Cycle Streets: Do content and label match?→
Jan Gehl – Architect, Urban Planner, Visionary and Humanist
Jan Gehl is an experienced architect and urban planner from Copenhagen with a very special view on his environment. Today he has become something of a patron for pedestrians and cyclists. Continue reading Jan Gehl – Cities for People→
The Neustadt, a densely populated district of Bremen on the south bank of the river Weser, is described in official literature as offering quiet streets with charming old houses. However, like so many other such areas, the charm is cursed by the demands of the car and its proponents. So when we, a group of local residents took the initiative to try to calm their streets, the hope was that the local authority – with a Green Party senator running the transport department – would look kindly on our efforts, but the reaction was the absolute opposite. Continue reading Out of the Blue→