The action group “Save Friedrichstrasse!” has lodged an objection to the partial confiscation of Friedrichstrasse as public road land. As the alliance has now announced, the objection was filed on time last Friday. The alliance is thus opposed to the plans of the Berlin transport administration to make the shopping street in the area of the traffic test finally car-free.
As part of the model test, the section between French and Leipziger Strasse has been closed to cars since August 2020. At the end of April, Bettina Jarasch (Greens), Senator for Transport, announced plans to ban bicycles from the closed part of the shopping street and convert it into a pedestrian zone.
“Save Friedrichstrasse!” opposes the project. In a statement, the action alliance speaks of “considerable concerns of the residents, especially the tradesmen”. The alliance calls for “a legally secure solution (…) that also takes into account the interests of residents”.
“Save the Friedrichstrasse!” sees the traffic attempt as a failure. The alliance demands an immediate end to the experiment and a return to the previous state. In addition, “a high-quality and spacious overall concept with Friedrichstrasse, Unter den Linden and Gendarmenmarkt, taking into account the interests of residents, Berliners, tradespeople, tourists, delivery traffic, public bus services and taxis, with the aim of improving the quality of stay” should be developed will.
The action alliance founded in March 2022, which includes the association Die Mitte, the Wirtschaftskreis Mitte, the IG Gendarmenmarkt, the friends and sponsors of Gendarmenmarkt Berlin and the Zukunft Gendarmenmarkt, is ready to work on such a solution, they say.
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The Berlin CDU had already called for a complete restart in Friedrichstrasse and a traffic concept for the entire historic center in May. The FDP is also critical of the traffic attempt and the plans of the traffic administration.
According to a report in the “Berliner Morgenpost”, the Berlin restaurant association Dehoga and the Berlin-Brandenburg trade association have submitted statements on the planned redesign of Friedrichstrasse in addition to the action alliance “Save Friedrichstrasse!”. The interest groups are said to have promised legal support to traders.
According to the report, the associations criticize the figures presented by Transport Senator Jarasch for the evaluation of the traffic test. According to this, the number of passers-by increased by 50 to 60 percent during the summer of 2021 compared to the time before the start of the test in August 2020. Dehoga and trade association speak of “insufficient and unsuitable data”.
The increase paints a distorted picture because in August 2020 an above-average number of people were working from home. There were also significantly fewer tourists in the city due to the corona pandemic. An increase in frequency in 2021 compared to August 2020 is to be expected simply because the relaxed corona measures allowed significantly more.
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In October 2021, the maximum frequency per hour was just over 3,000 pedestrians compared to almost 5,000 pedestrians in the long-term average, the associations also write in their statement. According to the “Berliner Morgenpost”, these figures come from an evaluation by the brokerage and consulting company Comfort.
In addition, according to Dehoga and the trade association, around a third of tradespeople have problems with deliveries. The relocation of traffic also represents a significant burden for Charlottenstrasse, which runs parallel to Friedrichstrasse.
Reliable data on the economic situation and the effects of the traffic test on tradespeople have not been submitted by the traffic administration or the Mitte district office, the interest groups criticize. They also describe the traffic attempt as a failure.