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.
Illegal parking forces tram to stop illegally
On this stretch of pavement, there are also orientation areas which mark the tram entrance for both visually impaired and wheelchair users. These are also being parked on. The arriving trams are meant to stop so that these points can be used. However, since this is usually not the case – the yellow or white company car is typically there – the tram stops away from the markings.
So what is the police doing?
An untenable state, you will say. Not at all. This situation has gone on for a very long time. Just over a year ago, the district council’s Social Committee, in one of its “neighbourhood walks to accessibility“, included this administrative offence (parking on the pavement, obstructive parking, impeding public transport) and brought it to the attention of the police. Nothing happened. On following up the request, came the answer: “we don’t have the manpower”.
Traffic wardens from the municipality?
Ah yes the municipality. They would have to write out a penalty ticket. But they rarely venture into this area, and then only to ticket cars parked in a fee-paying area without paying.
So what does the villain himself say?
“We don’t have disabled people”
A few weeks after discussing this with the police, the yellow or white car was still parked there. – So we went into the key shop to discuss the issue. We explained what the markings were for, to which the shop owner admitted he was unaware of them. But when we suggested it would be helpful to park elsewhere, we were told that “there are no disabled people here in the area.” So the police continue to get our emails, but clearly it’s a waste of time. The dude continues to park his cars on the markings at the tram stop, nice and handy just in front of the shop. So other motorists reckon they can take their chance and follow suite. The tram stop starts to fill up with parked cars. The takeover is complete.
What does the local council say?
Local reps took the issue to the local council at the end of April. As usual, the local police chief was present, so the matter was publicly addressed. Has a police officer visited the shop? Has anyone talked to the vehicle owner? Naturally!!! And what was being done? Nothing. The situation isn’t as we describe. Oh, so what is the situation then? No reply. But then the police chief explains: “In Schwachhausen we have more trouble with cyclists than with motorists”. Sniggers break out around the room.
So the social committee takes it into its own hands
More and more local residents have gone to the local council to complain about parked cars blocking their tram stop. The local council has had to respond. Countless photographs have been taken and sent to the police. At the last meeting of the council’s Social Committee, an official and unanimous decision was adopted to call on the police to act. This is now official local authority policy.
So there we have it. The cops twiddle their thumbs, the traffic wardens avoid the area, the local council members giggle, and the key cutter gets his personal parking space to the detriment of tram users.
Only the local social committee has reacted. They’ll be watching the detectives. We’ll keep you posted.