"traffic calmed commercial area" in Berlin-Mitte / Re: [carfree_cities] Spitballing
- Hi Chris,
"The one that came to mind was reducing the speed limit on all city streets to 10mph, "traffic calming" pushed to the extreme."
Here in Berlin`s central district "Mitte" was an extended discussion about a new mobility concept for a 50 hectares area called "Spandauer Vorstadt (SpV)" which is one of the oldest parts in Berlin and full of tourists (the area has ~12,000 places of cafès and restaurants but only ~6,000 inhabitants. Only half of all households own a car.).
At the end the final decision was to introduce a so-called "traffic calmed commercial area" ("verkehrsberuhigter Geschäftsbereich"): Most streets will have 10 km/h, only a few main streets will have 30 km/h.
What we still have in this SpV-area is a "parking place management".
Unfortunately, I know only the following german websites about that (if you need more details contact me):
- Both, the new mobility concept and the parking place management, based on studies from Technical University:
www.strassenplanung.TU-Berlin.de (> Mr Rumen Genow did the studies, but he doesn`t work there any more)
- district Mitte:
www.berlin-mitte.de (> district transport planner is Mr. Siegfried Dittrich)
- The area is a special "reconstruction area", so there exists a coordinator for everything what`s happening there:
www.koordinationsbuero-stadt.de (> Mr. Dieser or > Mr. Wilke)
- The neighbourhood committee`s (BV SpV) website about transport is
www.bvspv.de/verkehrskonzepte.html (no detailed description, but containing the contacts to the planners & related press articles)
This neighbourhood committee (I am involved in as speaker for mobility) tried to get a pedestrian zone around the main place of this area ("Hackescher Markt"), but unfortunately, we weren`t succesful, only the place itself became carfree. You can see a map of this SpV-area here:
links to the "local zoning plan" with a map of Hackescher Markt is at
Carfree Living Berlin Collaborative
----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Radcliff
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 10:08 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Spitballing
This may be an unusual question, but I'm feeling a bit out of it
because I'm in one of the most auto-centric areas of the world
(Southern California). It's difficult to find anything to get behind,
especially in a city (San Diego) which likes to build expensive pet
projects like ballparks while slashing transit service left and right.
Cutting to the chase: are there any simple *policy* changes -- as
opposed to technology or infrastructure changes -- which would serve
as stepping stones toward a carfree city? They can be radical and
even revolutionary; the point is to campaign for them one at a time to
shove the city out of its auto-centric rut and create the conditions
in which carfree designs become practical.
The one that came to mind was reducing the speed limit on all city
streets to 10mph, "traffic calming" pushed to the extreme. (I'd
actually prefer a "walking speed" like 5mph, but I think that such low
speeds would harm most cars. Can anyone confirm that?) The direct
benefit would be safer streets for both cyclists and pedestrians, and
the indirect benefit would be a better immediate comparison between
rail and auto options. Taking such a stance wouldn't cost the city
much, but it would show a firm commitment to real transit progress.
For instance, my commute to work takes about 90 minutes, an extreme
but not entirely uncommon case. The same trip by car takes between 45
and 90 minutes depending on traffic, but for most people the number
that sticks when making the "car or train?" decision every morning is
45. If the new limit was imposed, time on the non-highway sections of
the auto route would jump from 15 minutes to 45, putting the total
time more in line with the transit route. (Oddly enough, the bus
portion of my walk-bus-train-walk commute would be largely unaffected
because the bus averages about 10mph anyway.) Even better, running a
trolley line down my neighborhood's main street (the current bus
route) would reduce my commute to 50 minutes, but that's leaving the
realm of pure policy decisions.
Feel free to shoot holes in this out-there idea. Better yet, are
there other ideas out there? I'd love to create an "elevator pitch"
list that I could rattle off whenever I talk to someone about carfree
cities, perhaps even at the Earth Day fair this weekend.
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