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.
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.
Berlin’s Volksentscheid Fahrrad initiative (VEF), launched in November 2015, has within a very short time kindled an unprecedented public debate about cycling. The “Radentscheid” has become a perennial favourite of the Berlin media (see Media Coverage) and is now recognised in Germany and even internationally. Reason enough for Bremenize to look at what has happened in Berlin since its formation, and what we can learn for ourselves. Should we consider a similar initiative in Bremen?