18 January, 2014

Germany's Auto-ban

Hamburg, Germany is planning to trade Autobahn for Auto-ban!
For a country which prides itself on having given the world the Mercedes and the Autobahn, it represents a major ideological U-turn: Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, is planning to ban all cars from its centre over the next 20 years and put thousands of commuters on bikes.
"Ban all cars" and "put commuters on bikes" might sound alarming to many motorists.  By moderately restricting car access and providing attractive alternates, most people turn to safer and more efficient alternatives such as bicycles and public transit.

The new Green Network will be composed of beautiful parks, public transit, and bicycles highways that will carry the bulk of transportation needs previously served by cars.  Nearby cities in the Netherlands and Denmark do this already.
Some 30 city planners are currently working full time on plans for the network which will cover some 17,000 acres. In 15 to 20 years it will be possible to explore the city exclusively by bike or on foot. It will help attract "highly educated and competent people" to the city.
Besides creating an awesome place to live, the sea level city hopes to lead the charge against global warming.  The Green Network is also planned to work with existing waterways and could be used to help mitigate increasing floods from sea level rise.

Green Network

Removing a highway may seem crazy, but highways in cities do more harm than good.  City highways make traffic jams, divide neighborhoods and cause property values to plummet.  Removing an urban highway does the opposite!

It looks like Hamburg currently has the same bicycle growing pains as many cities around the world.  The difference might be that they will solve them.

Will problems like this soon be a thing of the past in Hamburg?