From Milan to Barcelona, from Paris to Bogota - world cities are transforming and making way for cycle lanes and expanded pavements in an attempt to keep safe distance and avoid over crowding in public transports. And Berlin is finally catching up with it's new and upcoming Pop-up bike lanes!
Berlin has since long been a forerunner in incorporating sustainable mobility choices for its people - with efficient public transportation, several cab-sharing and bike renting options and a truly visionary Mobility Law. Like every strong building has a stronger foundation, the architects of the 2018 Mobility Act in Berlin ensured that the Law adequately prioritised 3 elements into mobility planning- the pedestrians, the cyclists and public transport.
Architects behind the 2018 Berlin Mobility Act
The 2018 Berlin Mobility Act was a culmination of a two and a half-year long campaign in favour of a bike-friendly Berlin, driven by the Changing Cities Association, which garnered support from more than 100,000 signatories in less than three weeks. Berlin is now set to transform itself into a bicycle city within the next 10 years until 2030, and give more space to car-free transport, be ecologically sustainable and ensure better road safety. And this whole initiative was guided by the principle 'Vision Zero.'
'Vision Zero'- From Sweden to Berlin
The idea behind 'Vision Zero' was originally conceptualised in Sweden, to ensure 100% security for workers in the workplace by providing safe working conditions and environment. Inspired by this idea, Vision Zero was transformed to fit the mobility sector in Berlin and is now becoming popular across EU, where the primary objective is to ensure 100% safety of the people.
This idea completely changed the way transportation systems were designed and how urban mobility was viewed. Moving away from the need for speed, the need for security began to drive the design of transport infrastructure. Achieving maximum transport safety and avoiding casualties gradually became more important than how wide streets could be or how many cars could thereby fit.
Leveraging the COVID19 Pandemic
Germany, and its love affair with cars, is known to the world. The automobile lobby being quite strong in the country, mobility planners have been making roads thinking only about cars for 70 long years. While changing this mindset has been challenging until now, Changing Cities initiative recognised the opportunity in the crisis to influence a change of heart. It was understood that a large city like Berlin required the creation of pop-up cycle paths to maintain social distancing during the COVID19 Pandemic.
While such Bike lanes were in the agenda long since the 2018 Berlin Mobility Act, the Pandemic could make the implementation happen swifter. Noticing how Berliners are experiencing urban space in a very different way currently, Ragnhild Soerensen, the Media Spokesperson for Changing cities comments...
Your mobility is now restricted, so your neighbourhood is suddenly more personal to you than ever before. And you want to make it as liveable as possible!
Indeed, very close cooperation between civil society and administration was achieved in the last months to create the pop-up bike lanes and Play-streets for kids across different districts in Berlin. While many Berliners are beginning to enjoy a ride through a relatively traffic free downtown, neighbourhood volunteers ensure that play-streets are kept car-free for children on Sundays and holidays.
We are in this together...
Last year, a long time before the Pandemic started, we at 17Goalsmagazin, had created an interesting Info-graphic about the 'World of Cycling', and the positive impacts it has on our health and environment. The COVID19 disease has brought manifold challenges, but also opportunities to move towards a more sustainable way of life, and that is what Changing Cities is all about! Involving the civil society has been their way to change mindsets and make projects more inclusive, so that people feel more accountable and responsible. And concerted efforts are underway to ensure that the Pop-up bike lanes become permanent, since biking our way into the future is clearly the way to go!
Sign, contribute and spread the word for the # FaireStrassen petition from Changing cities, for more space for pedestrians and bicycles during the corona-crisis: www.changing-cities.org/fairestrassen