“Geht-Doch-Manifesto” – Pro pedestrian traffic in Bremen

Manifesto pro pedestrians:

(The following is taken from the original text)

Lots of dosh for car traffic – hardly anything for foot and bicycle

According to a study by the University of Kassel, car traffic in Bremen receives a subsidy of 156 euros per inhabitant per year, public transport 115 euros, cycling 9.3 euros and walking 16 euros.

Pavements in Bremen, does it have to be like that?

Although Bremen does somewhat better than other municipalities, it must be said that car traffic is heavily subsidised.

In the coalition agreement of the Bremen coalition, a quadrupling of the funds for cycling has been agreed. That is right and overdue. But in many plans pedestrian traffic is still an almost “forgotten mode of transport”. Quite wrongly: walking is our natural form of transport, which is beneficial to our health, the environment, human communication and urban development. It is also a comparatively low-cost form of mobility and, in contrast to car traffic, achieves positive economic benefits, i.e. – as in the case of the bicycle – society receives more social benefits from foot traffic than it spends on its promotion.

Foot and cycle transport are clearly underfinanced and particularly worthy of support as urban types of mobility. The need to catch up in terms of space and financial resources over decades is enormous. This is also confirmed by the Kassel study. In order to sustainably promote pedestrian traffic, it is the focus of this year’s European Mobility Week.

The proportion of pedestrian traffic in Bremen is about as high as that of cycling (according to the Bremen Transport Development Plan 2025: 21% foot, 25% bike, p. 31). In a city with short distances like Bremen, walking is particularly useful and easy. Foot traffic is one of the four independent transport modes in the Bremen Transport Development Plan 2025.

Things are happening….

Overall, foot traffic has moved more into the political and social consciousness: in the programmes of the parties to the citizens’ elections, foot traffic has no longer been largely ignored, as in previous years. And in some places the areas for pedestrian traffic have been increased. The Knochenhauerstraße is partly a pedestrian zone. In the Parkallee and on Herdentorsteinweg, a reorganisation of traffic was used in favour of a generous widening of the footpaths. This is also planned for Martinistraße. In the case of major road reconstruction measures, such as in Münchener Strasse and Hartwigstrasse, consistent attention was paid to accessibility.

But not enough….

But these positive approaches are countered by negative ones: In Bremen, too, pedestrian traffic is a wallflower. The areas for pedestrian traffic have been successively reduced over the past decades, especially in the neighbourhoods. This is primarily due to the strong growth in car traffic, which is taking up more and more parking space. The bad habit of not actually permitted parking with one wheel on the pavement led to massive restrictions on the width of footpaths and accessibility.

The quality of the footpaths could be improved in some places. Although the safety of pedestrian traffic at crossings has been improved, parking cars noticeably impair these effects and major shortcomings are noticeable. Conflicts with cyclists riding on footpaths are clearly visible due to shortcomings in the cycling infrastructure. However, it must be stressed here that these are not the main safety problem for pedestrians.

The biggest shortcoming of pedestrian traffic promotion is the inadequate human and financial resources of both pedestrian traffic promotion and traffic monitoring. So far, there is no foot traffic budget of its own. And the staff resources in the area of local mobility in the transport department are not yet sufficient. With 23 traffic controllers, an equally comprehensive and safe organisation of stationary and moving traffic cannot be guaranteed.

 The following objectives are particularly important for pedestrian traffic:

Vision Zero: No pedestrians may be injured or die. Defuse accident blackspots and fear areas.

Keep crossings clear of parked cars, reduce the number of parking spaces

Create comprehensive parking space management, with priority being given to protecting footpaths from parking, reduce the number of cyclists riding on them and ensure good visibility at crossings.

The proportion of pedestrian traffic as well as of the other environmental organisations such as local public transport, cycling and car sharing must be significantly increased. The proportion of cars must be significantly reduced.

Create barrier-free transport areas

Strengthen spatial planning for pedestrians and plan streets from the outside to the inside instead of the other way round

The share of pedestrian traffic as well as that of the other environmental association bodies such as local public transport, cycling and car sharing must be significantly increased. The proportion of cars must be significantly reduced.

Guarantee genuine equality and accessibility of users inside the public space through a strategy of networked mobility and more movement space for pedestrians.

Increase the quality of recreation and open space for pedestrians through greenery, water, light and benches.

Reduce noise and improve air quality.

Promote a culture of walking.

Increase the range of movement on offer, for example through movement courses.

Reduce deficiencies and barriers for pedestrians*, i.e. create minimum standards with pavement widths of 2.50 m and create barrier-free surfaces for new buildings or conversions, both consistently and successively in existing buildings.

Strengthen multimodal links with public transport, bicycle traffic, rental systems and car sharing, i.e. create and strengthen comfortable and more attractive transfer possibilities.

Create safe routes with short crossings,

Reduce the speed of individual motorised traffic significantly.

Give priority to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists when setting up construction site facilities.

If possible, separate pedestrian and cycle traffic. Foot and cycle traffic have conflicts, but are natural partners and must be planned in a more integrated way.

 To achieve these objectives, we call for 12 measures:

The financial resources for pedestrian traffic must be improved with a separate pedestrian traffic budget of at least 2 million EUR per year.

The mobility team will be increased to 10 posts and strengthened by a foot traffic officer.

There must be a redistribution of space at the expense of car traffic. Foot and cycle traffic will be separated, as in the good examples Herdentorsteinweg, Parkallee and Martinistraße (planned).

The planned increase in the number of staff monitoring the parking area in the security service to the target number of 100 must be carried out quickly.

The punishment of sidewalk and cycle path parking and parking in the intersection area is a focal point of traffic monitoring by the extended security service.

The safety of pedestrian traffic will be a special focus of the integrated traffic safety concept.

There should be more speed-30 (km/h) areas. A control speed of 30 km/h in cities should be supported at federal level.

We call for a noticeable increase in resident parking. This will prevent parking in these districts.

We call for the strengthening of spatial planning for pedestrians through a complete and comprehensive network of footpaths.

Accessibility is a priority for new buildings and conversions. Identified weak points in the existing stock are successively eliminated. The barrier-free redesign of public transport stops must be accelerated.

Pedestrian-friendly instruments such as play streets, traffic-calmed shopping areas or temporary play streets are increasingly being used. New instruments such as school streets or family streets are being tried out as pilot projects.

The Gustav-Deetjen tunnel is a particularly blatant example of an area of fear and a road design that is unfriendly to pedestrians and bicycles: when it comes to accessibility, it is actually a disgrace for a city with few barriers. It must also be rebuilt quickly to the detriment of other modes of transport.

Bremen, 16th September 2019

Supported by:

Autofreier StadTraum Bremen e. V.,
Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrradclub – ADFC Bremen,
Bremer Bündnis Verkehrswende,
Bund für Umweltschutz und Natur – BUND Bremen,
Forum Verkehrswende Neustadt,
Fuß e. V. Bremen,
Naturschutzbund – NABU Bremen,
Verkehrsclub Deutschland – VCD Bremen