Architects propose a fast lane for cyclists under the Kreuzberg elevated railway line. The ADFC praises the idea, but sees the structural implementation with skepticism.
Cycling through Kreuzberg with a dry head, drinking a "Coffee To Ride" on the way from Zoo to Warschauer Strabe, pedaling nine kilometers through the middle of Berlin, without cars or pedestrians, past a curtain of plants . This is what an eight-member team of architects and urban planners wants. Your idea was nominated for the Bundespreis ecodesign 2015 (German Federal Award for Ecodesign). The growing number of cyclists will be able to cross the city from east to west on a "bike lane" under the U1 elevated viaduct. That sounds like an expensive investment and construction work.
Not true, says Matthias Heskamp, himself a cyclist and part of the bike track team that developed the concept in his spare time. Together with his colleagues Kristin Karig and Perttu Ratilainen, he explains why the bike lane doesn’t have to be expensive. "Berlin has the advantage of having a lot of open space, unlike cities like London."
It would just be a matter of converting unused spaces like the one under the subway line. In their concept the Radbahnner speak of the fact that only 20 per cent of the entire distance must be changed in principle, 80 per cent are already passable now. Larger construction measures would be necessary, for example, in front of Mockernbrucke station.
Show more pictures
To enable cyclists to cross the Landwehr Canal, Heskamp and his colleagues are proposing to run the path there as a suspended roadway under the bridge. During construction at Prinzenstrabe station, there was already a similar hanging structure there.
The concept is nice on paper, but costs millions, he said
Bernd Zanke, chairman of the German Bicycle Club (ADFC), welcomes the idea, but says: "We have to look at this realistically." He lacks in the proposal above all a concrete budget. He suspects: "These are millions, which must be taken there into the hand."
From the community
All ideas that are suitable to separate the cyclists from the motor traffic are reasonable.
But the far greater point of criticism, he says, is the structural implementation. There are some elevation differences on the design, and the paths seem very narrow for two-lane bike traffic. "The concept is nice on paper, but this will never be implemented," says Zanke. Instead, he refers to the protective or bicycle lanes that have been planned for years to run along the side of the subway, but were not implemented due to construction work by BVG. "Bicycle traffic is on the rise. It is important that the east-west axis is connected," he says.
Show more pictures
"It’s about reclaiming spaces"
Heskamp, Karig and Ratilainen take the criticism calmly. After all, it takes vision to change a city. Above all, he says, the concept should be an initial spark for a discussion about cycling infrastructure in Berlin. It’s about more than bike paths: it’s about "reclaiming spaces in the city," says Karig. And especially with regard to the ecological effects of car traffic in the inner cities, the cities would have to react. "We need to develop a new lifestyle around cycling," says Heskamp. That’s why the concept includes small stores and meeting places on the edge of the bike lanes. In the team are even all cyclists. "We think from the user’s point of view," says Karig. "And have the advantage of still being innovative and fresh in our approach."
From the community
Anyone driving a car should have full adult responsibility.
A lively following has already been found on the group’s Facebook page. But the bike lane campaigners also want to seek dialog with the institutions. There have already been discussions with companies specializing in bicycle development and with Berlin’s bicycle commissioner.
Thinking big about bicycle paths is currently booming: As reported, there are also discussions about making the route of the former Stammbahn to Potsdam a bicycle path; then you could cycle to Potsdam without cars and pedestrians – but not dry-headedly.