During the Corona lockdown, the Berlin government began converting car lanes into cycle paths so that cyclists could keep their distance. In the meantime, the green Senator for Transport Regine Günther has announced that the ordinance for the so-called pop-up cycle paths will be extended until the end of the year - and that the tracks will then be expanded into permanent cycle paths. Motorists have to come to terms with having one lane less available. The ADAC speaks of "serious restrictions". But what would a fair distribution of the street space look like? ZEIT ONLINE invited traffic senator Günther and Volker Krane, head of traffic at ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg, to the video conference.
Regine Günther, Volker Krane (below) and ZEIT-ONLINE editor Sören Götz during the video conversation © Screenshot: Sören Götz
ZEIT ONLINE: Ms. Günther, why are new cycle paths so important to you that you are ready to draw the anger of car-driving voters?
Regine Günther: There is a clear trend towards cycling. However, we are far from having an adequate, secure infrastructure, especially on the main roads. If we want to motivate more people to switch to bikes to make cities more livable, there is no way around significantly improving the infrastructure. So far, the car was operated first, the rest had to take what was left. We want to change that.
ZEIT ONLINE: And is Corona the reason for you to speed up this conversion with pop-up bike paths?
Günther: The renovation is at the core of the Berlin Mobility Act, which also means that we are strongly expanding public transport as the backbone of mobility, which is why more than 28 billion euros have been earmarked for the next 15 years, and more space is planned for pedestrians Since Corona, some people have been afraid to become infected in public transport. That is why we have significantly accelerated the mostly existing cycle path planning and initially implemented it with provisional means.
ZEIT ONLINE: Mr. Krane, can you follow this argument?
Volker Krane: The installation of the pop-up bike path gave the impression that one had only used an opportunity to do something that otherwise could not be done. We want a balanced concept for traffic design.
ZEIT ONLINE: And you see this balanced concept in danger?
Cranes: There is no such concept. We imagine many building blocks that are built around the automotive user group. This group will surely get smaller, the group of cyclists bigger. That is why our members want better infrastructure and more safety for cyclists. But in the foreseeable future, traffic in cities will not take place without a car, however the car is then driven. So you have to think about the parking situation, intelligent traffic control and the commuter problem. That is part of the concept for the largest city in Germany, which everyone is looking at. It's not about car drivers versus cyclists. The ADAC does not stand for that.
ZEIT ONLINE: Where should the bike paths be created if not in car lanes or parking lots?
Cranes: We had two bicycle roads in Berlin nine years ago, now there are more than twenty. This ensures safety. We also need to be more creative with parking. There is often talk of higher parking fees or other restrictive measures. But you have to do it positively. Why doesn't the state encourage people to share a car with their neighbors by incentivizing it? For example, a parking lot nearby or a charging station on the doorstep?
Günther: I strongly disagree that there is no concept. We have a mobility law that clearly states what the goal is. It says: There is a bike path on every main road, priority is given to public transport, bike and pedestrian traffic. With the i2030 project, we want to connect Berlin and Brandenburg with up to 180 kilometers of rail and plan up to 36 new stations in Berlin alone - more than 60 in Brandenburg. We need that for commuters.