The term “Model Bike Neighbourhood” (Fahrradmodellquartier) awakens fantasies and desires in me. It sounds like “city of the future” and rather cool. It sounds like a neighbourhood, in which everyone can move in the public space with the same right and without fear. People like to hang around outside and engage in conversation or participate in public life. Cargo bikes are being shared and walkways and spaces are free from parking cars. Nobody is run over by two-ton metal boxes, nobody is harked at or pushed aside. Air is pure – besides the Neustadt watermark of malt and liquid chocolate – and you can hear the birds singing. Cars play but a marginal role.
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.
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