Good Things Come To Those Who Wait?
Parkallee in Bremen is part of a planned Premium Route for cycling that runs from the university in the north to the city centre. For too long, this 500 metre section between Am Stern and the city’s main railway lines has dominated discussions and negotiations. How can cyclists can traverse this section safely and quickly?
Car Parking Hinders Sensible Traffic Management
Actually, the local conditions for a Premium Route are ideal. Parkallee is a dual carriageway, separated by a green strip in the middle. Each of the two lanes is so wide that a peaceful coexistence of bicycle and motor vehicle traffic would theoretically be possible. Only parking prevents sensible traffic management. On-road parking has established itself in the last 30 years in addition to the existing parking bays, blocking a full traffic lane. Cyclists felt hassled on the remaining lane of car traffic. So instead of cycling on the road, many cyclists continue to use the old and narrow cycleway, created on the pavement 40 years ago.
Illegal Parking Legalised
Instead of tackling illegal parking practices, the city has legalised and re-arranged parking in the 2nd lane. Extensive white lines clearly show motorists where they can now park legally so that they do not block the garage entrances and intersection areas as they did previously.
Lines, zebra crossings, red colour, symbols. Traffic planning uses these signs to regulate and organise traffic.
Red Surface Marking – Confusion For Motorists
Since Parkallee is part of a future Premium Route for cycling, the one remaining lane in each direction has now been marked in red. In addition, several bicycle symbols were applied. The result? Confusion for motorists: Here they have no choice but to use this red “bicycle” area, which elsewhere means entry forbidden. The danger is that across the country red areas for cycle traffic will no longer be respected – a disastrous signal when, for example at one end of this street is Am Stern with just these red markings.
Missing the Target
What at first glance looks progressive – red area marking for a cycle lane – is actually a wasted effort that fails to fulfill its aim – cyclist security. Cyclists have no secure area for themselves, even if they are red. Cyclists continue to use the old pavement bike lane. The red colour will soon be worn away by heavy motorised traffic. Illegal parking has been legalised There are even 20 more parking spaces added.
A Possible Alternative?
A cleaner solution in Parkallee would have been to clamp down on illegal on-road parking instead of creating 20 additional parking spaces. It would have then been possible to create a wide, visually clearly cycle lane, separated from all motor vehicle traffic.
More For Car Sharing
At the corner of Parkallee / Am Stern four car-sharing vehicles are parked on private property, somewhat hidden from public view. These could have been well accommodated in the existing parking bays, ie in the public space, clearly visible to all. One car-sharing vehicle replaces an average of 16 private cars. An opportunity has been missed to promote this type of car sharing as an alternative to private car ownership.
It is hoped that the city of Bremen will finally break the predominance of the car in the city in favour of those who move in an environmentally friendly, space-saving and quiet way. The climate can’t wait much longer!