Berlin’s traffic senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) has rejected the initiative of the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf to quickly change the traffic routing around Breitscheidplatz after the rampage on Wednesday. “The concepts for converting the Tauentzien, which have now been pulled out of the drawer, could not have prevented the rampage,” said Jarasch on Friday. “The driver didn’t want to go to Breitscheidplatz, but simply steered his car onto the sidewalk at Tauentzien. That could have happened in exactly the same way with the desired conversion of the median.”
The district mayor of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Jarasch’s party friend Kirstin Bauch, had previously demanded that the concepts, some of which were known, to slow down and push back car traffic around Breitscheidplatz should now be implemented quickly.
Car lanes should be removed on both sides of the square with the Memorial Church in order to prevent a direct and straight drive towards Breitscheidplatz, said Bauch on Friday on RBB Inforadio. North of the square, Budapester Strasse was to be narrowed with only one lane in each direction. For the southern area at the transition from Kurfürstendamm to Tauentzienstraße, which was now affected, a gap in the central reservation was to be closed. Cars on Rankestrasse should only be able to turn right onto Tauentzienstrasse. This would prevent someone from racing straight ahead in the direction of Breitscheidplatz.
The SPD faction in the district assembly called for “permanent and city-friendly protection” of the square, but also of the surrounding streets. The area had to be “thought of as a whole”. Traffic calming is possible on Kurfürstendamm through “a speed reduction, structural changes and a reallocation of public space”. Motorized traffic there can be limited to BVG buses, taxis, delivery vans and rescue vehicles.
“In all developments, it is important to the SPD parliamentary group that City-West does not become a fortress, but remains an open place in the city,” said SPD parliamentary group leader Alexander Sempf at the same time.
[You can read more about the rampage and its consequences on Friday in our district newsletter from Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf by Cay Dobberke. Order here for free.]
However, these plans had nothing to do with the rampage on Wednesday, traffic senator Jarasch objected. “Such acts of violence – as bitter as it is to realize this – can never be completely prevented. Anyone who wants to misuse a car to arbitrarily run over people can do so anywhere,” explained the Greens politician. “We can secure individual places, but then the act of violence can still happen a hundred meters away – like the day before yesterday at Breitscheidplatz.”
However, traffic calming could improve the quality of stay in City West and would also solve the problem of speeders on Ku’damm and Tauentzien, Jarasch admitted – “in this sense” she is happy to talk about it. “But this does not prevent terror or amok drives.” Nevertheless, in places like Breitscheidplatz, the question of security through special protective measures “plays a prominent role,” said Jarasch and promised: “We will work with the district and internal administration to find a solution.”
On Wednesday, 29-year-old Gor H. drove in two groups on Ku’damm and Tauentzienstraße. The teacher of a school class from Hesse died, a teacher and seven students were hospitalized with serious injuries, and other people were injured.
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