In order to simplify the establishment of new neighborhood blocks in Berlin, the Senate Transport Administration intends to publish guidelines for the districts shortly. The work on the regulations for the traffic-calmed zones is “in the final phase,” said Senator for Transport Bettina Jarasch (Greens) on Wednesday in the Mobility Committee of the House of Representatives.
“That will help the districts.” Part of the guide, which the Senate Department has been working on since the beginning of the year, includes sample plans of what it could look like in the districts. “There are four profiles that are almost finished,” said Jarasch. In addition, the paper contains a description of the process for setting up, which includes both the approval process and the participation of residents.
Jarasch emphasized that neighborhood blocks are not set up to combat car traffic. “Dispelling cars is not one of the goals of the neighborhood blocks.” However, traffic should increasingly be shifted to the main streets. In order for the living conditions for local residents to remain tolerable there too and for there to be no additional traffic jams, car traffic must decrease overall.
The traffic senator warned against impeding local traffic with the drive-through barriers. “Buses and neighborhood blocks will have to get along.” This is made possible, among other things, by lowerable bollards. On the other hand, Jarasch rejected bicycle streets within the traffic-calmed zones. “That would thwart the goal.”
Criticism came from the chamber of commerce and industry at the hearing in the committee. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular should still be able to easily reach their customers in residential areas. If the journeys there take longer in the future, this will be reflected in the prices and at the same time tie up the time of valuable specialists.
“Every minute that a specialist spends on the way to the place of work or to work costs money and costs specialist capacities, which are becoming increasingly scarce,” said Lutz Kaden from the IHK. “If you increase the travel time, the chimney sweeper will also write that down on the bill.” So that commercial traffic can flow, as many private car journeys as possible have to be shifted to local public transport.
Roland Stimpel from the FUSS e.V. association praised the concept of the neighborhood blocks, but warned not to forget the households on the main streets. “Main thoroughfares are also residential streets. There, the need for relief for people is often even greater.” But the people there would be even more burdened by the neighborhood blocks.
Meanwhile, the Senate Traffic Administration is planning to extend traffic calming to the entire city. “We want to have neighborhood block justice across the board,” said an employee from Jarasch’s house in the committee.
Traffic should also be calmed in the outskirts, but less drastically than in the city center. “A neighborhood block in Graefekiez looks different than in a single-family housing estate in Reinickendorf.”