Category Archives: Urban Planning

Einfach Einsteigen: A Public Transport Revolution?

The climate crisis and need for a transformation to a sustainable traffic and transport system demand feasible concepts. The initiative “Einfach Einsteigen” (not exactly translateable, but close to Simply Enter; Get on (board)/hop on) has developed a calculated concept for financing the expansion and operation of Bremen’s local transport system. A role model for other cities as well?

Here is some background information on “Einfach Einsteigen” (hereafter abbreviated as “we”) financing concept for local transport as well as its assessment by the Bremen Senate. If the concept is implemented, the initiative claims, local transport in Bremen can be operated without tickets as well as comprehensively expanded.(Note:  this is operating  under  German  law) Continue reading Einfach Einsteigen: A Public Transport Revolution?

Politicians Moved to Address Sielwall

Sielwall end of 19th century Foto: Beatrix Wupperman

Sielwall – young men with overly-souped up cars race through it, and local politicians are finally seeing this as the danger that it is. Now the Sielwall and all four roads which lead to the so-called Sielwalleck are to be closed to car traffic up to 80 metres in each direction on weekend nights, thus eliminating through traffic. This is good. But instead of just closing short stretches of road temporarily, the Sielwalleck and the Sielwall need to be reconsidered and redesigned, for every day traffic, not just on the weekend. Continue reading Politicians Moved to Address Sielwall

We need your opinion here in Bremen

As the summer holidays hit in,  transport senator Maike Schaefer is seeking the public’s  opinion and expertise regarding two major projects:

The VEP 2025 (Verkehrsentwicklungsplan = traffic development plan)

and the remake of a main road, Friedrich-Ebert-Straße in the Neustadt.

To make your life easier, a citizens’ initiative has already developed some helpful ideas. Have a look into their brochure.

As you can see in the poster above, both projects have tight deadlines for your ideas to be submitted: The VEP participation ends at the 2nd of August, and your ideas for the Friedrich-Ebert-Straße need to be handed in by the 31st of July.

Zebra Crossing – no chance in Bremen?

 There are hardly any zebra crossings in Bremen. Why is that so? Don’t they offer pedestrians safety? Do they disturb the car traffic? Are they too expensive to produce?

Zebra crossings are – strictly speaking – a stopgap in places where car traffic dominates urban traffic. They were made in Britain, like this probably most famous zebra crossing photo in Abbey Road with the Beatles.

One of Bremen’s rare zebra crossing at the main station, Foto: Richard Grassick

The protective effect of zebra crossings is beyond doubt. As the guidelines state: “MSDS are one of several ways of protecting pedestrians when crossing the road (see VwV on §25 StVO)” (German guidelines for pedestrian crossings, (R-FGÜ 2001). The federal states were asked to introduce these guidelines and to apply them from January 1, 2002. Continue reading Zebra Crossing – no chance in Bremen?

Sielwall in Bremen: The Law is a Joke??

On Friday 19th June a new phenomenon hit the streets of Bremen, or rather the street of Sielwall. That evening,  the entrance to Sielwall coming from the Osterdeich was augmented with no-entry street signs, with a time limit of “Fri – Sun 20h to 6h“. In other words, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and nights Sielwall is a one-way street in the direction of the Osterdeich.

Blocking the Siewall: Creating a one way road. Foto: ADFC

On the first weekend the authority (Which one? Office for Roads and Traffic?? Police) erected a barrier at the Osterdeich to stop car drivers at the entrance to the Sielwall. But on the second weekend there was no barrier at all – just the signs.. Continue reading Sielwall in Bremen: The Law is a Joke??

Bremen’s 1st “Premium Cycle Route” To Be Completed In 2022

At last the time has come. The start of formal public consultation for the “Wallring” premium cycle route  was announced today by the Senator for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban Development and Housing (short: SKUMS).

The “Wallring” is part of the 43 km long premium cycle route D 13 from Bremen Farge to Mahndorf, which is intended to allow cyclists* to circumvent Bremen’s city centre in a comfortable and fast way.  At today’s press conference, the Senator highlighted the Wallring as part of the new reality and a symbol of Bremen’s transport transition.

Further details and the design concept can be found in the press release of the senate. The public consultation phase will be relatively rapid so that construction can start in summer 2021 and be completed in autumn 2022.

Safe mobility for all – an open letter

Changing Cities, Berlin, on April 14th published an open letter to Minister of Transport A. Scheuer, which called for the establishment of corona-safe pedestrian and cycle paths. Bremen initiatives have now sent an open letter with the same aim to the Bremen Senate and Bremen’s citizens:

Bremen's Initiatives for the Transport Transition demand safe infrastructure for all pedestrians, cyclists and users of local public transport. 

(Foto: grn) Few cars on the lane, whereas maintenance of Corona safety distanc is hardly possible...
> Foot and bike: More space and safe foot and bike paths that allow for the necessary safety distances.
> Public Transportation (BSAG): More vehicles at peak times and financial aid for the BSAG to ensure higher hygiene standards in their vehicles.

Read the full text of the letter here (in German only):

Continue reading Safe mobility for all – an open letter

1970s Tools For 2030 Aims

Bremen’s Traffic Plan 1948

Is your head stuck in the 1970s? Most of us like to think that we fit well with the modern world. We appreciate democracy. We support equal rights for all. We are tolerant and open to new ways. Yet when it comes to transport policy, many of us can’t get out of 1970s thinking.

This is the problem that haunts Transport Transition advocates. We want to reclaim the cities for people by reducing the use of motorised vehicles. But whenever proposals are presented that will do just this, so many of us cannot think beyond the problems of 1970s traffic management. Where will the cars go if they can’t go here? How can shops get their supplies without lorries? How can residents park their cars if not in the street? Even transport activists find it difficult to get over this way of thinking.  For as much as it is embedded in official government policy, it is no surprise that the transport sector has failed miserably to reduce its carbon emissions. Continue reading 1970s Tools For 2030 Aims

Dear Bremen, give us space to keep our distance. Love, your inhabitants

Good morning Bremen! Covid-19 has been dominating our lives for a few months now,  and since 22nd March 2020 you told us to go into lock-down

This is what you want us to do , you just extended it to 3rd May and you are also threatening us with harsh fines, if we don’t stick to the rules.

No chance for any distance. (Foto: Beatrix Wupperman)

But sorry, there is a tiny problem, (we told you already). In our streets all the distance we are supposed to keep is not possible. Why?  There are too many parked cars, and not enough space for pedestrians and cyclists on the road.

No space on Bremen’s roads? Oh yes, but not for us! (Foto: Dieter Mazur)

It’s not as if this is something out of the ordinary, dear Bremen.  You would not be alone in this, there are loads of cities already on their way. Have a look:

Continue reading Dear Bremen, give us space to keep our distance. Love, your inhabitants

After Corona – The future of public space

The shock of Corona in recent history is only comparable to the attacks of September 11, 2001. In both cases new rules and state powers were established almost overnight. This time it is not a question of fighting terrorism, but of preventing epidemics. But this time, too, almost all areas of public and private life are affected. The Corona crisis will have a particular impact on the future design and use of public space. Because of the need to protect against infection, it is likely that even after the current phase of rigid restrictions, distancing rules will have to be observed for the foreseeable future.

No space for distancing – MindenerStr. in Bremen, Foto: Olaf Dilling

But it’s still in our hands. We can either allow further restrictions to be placed on public space or, by redistributing it, enable equal participation. This could go hand in hand with a transport policy that puts people at the centre, and at the same time takes better account of air pollution control and climate protection. Pedestrian traffic can be promoted by planning sufficient space on pavements. The capacities of public transport and railways must be increased to minimise the risk of infection. Car lanes can be reserved for bicycles to ensure safety and distance. Continue reading After Corona – The future of public space