Category Archives: Urban Planning

“Platz Da!” Moves Up A Gear

The “Platz Da!” initiative has officially launched, as reported in the Weserkurier and on the telly.

“Platz Da! Bremen “is involving a growing number of Bremen citizens who are working together for a better cycling and walking infrastructure, and a comprehensive parking management system for the city. The campaign’s key demand is that the streets belong to all of us, not just the owners of parked cars, and is working with the Transport Transition Alliance , launched in January 2018 with a call for a city-wide management of car parking, and a genuine strategy for reducing space used by parked vehicles.

Continue reading “Platz Da!” Moves Up A Gear

Ralph Saxe – Transport Revolution In 2019?


Ralph Saxe

With Bremen’s state election looming next year, and the Greens riding high in the polls, there is a very real chance that they will form a strengthened half of any new coalition. With the two old parties declining in popularity, there is even the prospect of a Green-led government. With this in mind, we recently interviewed Ralph Saxe, transport spokesperson for the Bremen Greens, to see what they have in mind for the coming legislature.  Continue reading Ralph Saxe – Transport Revolution In 2019?

Berlin Citizens Initiative for Cycling – from Grassroots Movement to Mobility Act

On June 28th 2018 Berlin’s Parliament signed a new Mobility Act into effect. This was the final point of a more than two and a half-year long campaign by the Initiative Citizens Referendum for Cycling in Berlin and their umbrella organization Changing Cities.


Sit-in of Citizens’ Cycling Referendum in Berlin-Kreuzberg, 22.10.2017 

Continue reading Berlin Citizens Initiative for Cycling – from Grassroots Movement to Mobility Act

Kids or Cars?

The hilarious everyday experience of transport campaigns in Bremen (an extract)

Temporary play street: Turned down

– Application for cycle stands and bollards on pavements to keep the street entrance clear for emergency vehicles: Turned down– Illegal parking on the pavement: Silently tolerated by the authorities

– Application for residents’ parking: Under discussion

– Special slow zone (Begegnungszone) in front of the elementary school: Application coming up, because existing bans on parking are ignored

Continue reading Kids or Cars?

Portland – the myth and the reality

Following a television documentary about the “do it yourself” and bicycle culture in Portland, Oregon, last year, many Bremers, and especially cyclists, asked me if Portland is really as cool as all the hype.

 Well-signed bike route through residential streets in the Mt Tabor neighbourhood of Portland, Oregon.

My answer was yes, and no. Continue reading Portland – the myth and the reality

Women on bikes – There is a difference

 „The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of middle and upper class women then all the struggles of the womens’ movement“. So wrote the Austrian authoress and feminist Rosa Mayreder (1858-1938).


Female English Racing Cyclists – Englische Radrennfahrerinnen 1

The first female cyclists came from wealthy families, taking the opportunity to get away from their restrictive circumstances. In Bremen there were Ricarda Huch and Aline von Kapff, who fought for their freedom from the saddle of their bicycles more than 100 years ago.

Women cycle differently

But if we think cycling is gender-neutral, we are wrong. A majority of women cycle in a more defensive way, requiring more security. Meanwhile, if we look at what has been done for Bremen cyclists in recent years, it appears that cycling policy has evolved for young, male, fast cyclists. Some of them might like cycling on the road more than on a cycle path, but to do so requires courage and speed. Slow cyclists, or indeed more anxious people, don’t enjoy mixing with cars on the road. It is seen as dangerous, and certainly some car drivers see cyclists as an obstacle, of which they try to get rid of by hassling them and blowing their horns.

 Women are more vulnerable

 In traffic incidents at junctions, more female cyclists are injured or killed than males. One study notes: „Two thirds of cyclists involved in an accident with a car negotiating a junction were women according to the GDV-accident-data-files, 45 % were over 65, most of them cycling at 15km/h.“

 A British study comes out with the same results: „Women seem to be more vulnerable, maybe because they are less likely to claim the car lane and thus hug the kerb. In the year 2009 10 of 13 killed cyclists in London were women, 8 of these killed by left-turning lorries.“

 Most women want separated cycle lanes or paths

These figures tell us that especially women need separated cycle lanes or paths and they are asking for it: „76% of female cyclists or women who want to cycle, tell us, that they would cycle more, if there were proper cycle paths.“


Amsterdam: Cycling for all of us

 Bremen seems not to be interested in womens’ wishes

 Despite this, traffic planners in Bremen fail to consider the varying needs of cyclists, be it children, elderly people or women. Recently built cycling infrastructure in Bremen is geared to the young, sporty (mostly male) cyclist, who likes to mix with cars without any worries. More and more women protest, pointing out that they don’t want to cycle on specific roads.

 Fahrradstraße (cycle street) Parkallee in one of these: illegal parking narrows the space and loads of non residential car drivers speed through it. Cyclists are overtaken ignoring the necessary distance of 1,50m and they suffer from motorists who hassle them, blow their horns and shout at them. A similar problem is the Humboldtstraße, also a so-called cycle street: Bremen tends to develop „cycle streets light“, quite the contrary to the diligently developed cycle streets of the first years, in the 1980s. This has a lot to do with Bremen’s cycling advocates, who still today argue for vehicular cycling on the road.

 A new development is a „green wave“ for cyclists. But it is planned at a speed of 18 km/h – most women though cycle more slowly. The idea behind it is good, the way it is done is once again „light-headed“.

Transport planning needs to be more feminine

 A successful gender mainstreaming in the transport sector is a sign of quality for planners and politicians – given how household structures develop and new life styles emerge. But if we want a just transport plan we need to look at the needs of all traffic members. It is ridiculous that planning for cycling tends to forget the majority – the women – and their needs. Transport planning needs to be more feminine. We need more space, security, no anxieties, equal rights and a gentle working together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parking Space to Cycle Space? Not In Bremen

With the recent publication of proposals for comprehensive parking management by Bremen’s Transport Transition coalition, there’s been considerable discussion in the city’s media about the problem of illegal parking. Little has been said about its direct impact on cycling in Bremen, despite the publication’s central point that proper management of car parking is a means to releasing road space for walking and cycling. Continue reading Parking Space to Cycle Space? Not In Bremen

Sharing a car in Bremen: What we gain

We’ve had enough! More and more cars fill our streets, less and less space for everyone else. So what could a CarSharing (Car Club) system do for us? If several people share one car we need less of them, and fewer parking spaces are needed.

In Bremen nearly 15,000 people use Cambio. Founded 30 years ago as a community association called „Stadtauto“.


Cambio Car 16 years ago (2002)

Right now (May 2018) Cambio offers 331 cars of different sizes, based at 91 stations around the city for 14,800 users in Bremen und Bremerhaven.

Continue reading Sharing a car in Bremen: What we gain