Pedestrian safety is to be improved - and quickly. This year, the district of Mitte wants to rebuild 50 intersections. This was announced by Almut Neumann (Green Party), city councilor for transport, via Twitter on Sunday.
At intersections and junctions, bicycle bars and e-scooter surfaces are to keep cars from parking wrongly. The councilwoman published a map with the relevant intersections. About a dozen of them are already ready, she said.
The reconstruction has several advantages: "It's relatively quick because no civil engineering is needed," Neumann shared. "That allows us to get into the massing." Speed and mass must be "the strategy overall if we want to make effective progress with the mobility revolution."
The reconstruction brings more safety, which is especially important for children and the elderly. Targeted bicycle racks "ensure better visibility and that cars can no longer park in these places," Neumann wrote on Twitter. In the selection of intersections and crossing points, the mobility council of the district office had been involved and had made suggestions.
The traffic councilwoman received much praise for this. The pedestrian association Fuss e.V. praised the program for its "quadruple effect." "Visibility is improved for pedestrians, two-wheelers come off the sidewalk, corners are no longer blocked and parking space is better used," wrote Fuss spokesman Roland Stimpel.
Of course, the last point only applies if legal parking spaces are converted into parking spaces for bicycles or e-scooters, for example at crosswalks. Parking is always illegal at crossings.
Bicycle activist Heinrich Strößenreuther recalled that the proposal had already been formulated years ago by the bicycle referendum. "It's finally being implemented with vigor." Strößenreuther and Fuss eV called on other districts and cities to adopt the idea. ADFC board member Christian Storch tweeted: "Great. This is how the traffic turnaround works."
Mitte invokes the mobility law passed in 2018. This incorporated many of the demands of the bicycle referendum, including the demand for "structural measures against illegal parking at intersections and crossings," as it says in paragraph 55.
Of course, the bicycle racks will not be erected by themselves. Admittedly, this would go much faster than a complete reconstruction with pavements. "Nevertheless, a lot has to happen internally," the councilwoman wrote: examination of the proposals, preparation of traffic sign plans, the police and fire department have to be consulted, the traffic ordinance has to be written and companies have to be commissioned.
Actually, according to the Highway Code, parking in the so-called five-meter zones at intersections is prohibited - but only some motorists comply. Because the penalties are still minimal. When the catalog of fines was tightened in 2021, the penalties for parking on bike paths and sidewalks were increased, in some cases significantly. In the five-meter zones, ten euros will still be due, and even 15 euros for obstructions.
Since the police and public order offices hardly ever take action against "corner parkers," many Berliners now report parking violations themselves - using a special app that sends completed reports to the fine office. However, only a portion of these are processed by the Berlin police. In the second half of 2021, 34,000 private reports were dumped in the trash can due to a lack of staff to process them. This had only become known through a report in the Tagesspiegel.
This year, the situation has improved only slightly. According to the police headquarters, 27 percent of the nearly 20,000 private reports were processed in the first half of the year. 14,000 wandered into the trash can. As a result, Berlin is foregoing high revenues.
Photo by Clique Studios