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Across Europe, several cities are taking steps to remove cars from their city centers, but one capital is going in the other direction—Berlin’s new government wants to protect drivers’ rights.
While many European cities, such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Paris are drastically reducing car traffic in their city centers in favor of cycle paths, Berlin is lagging behind, according to many critics.
At Potsdamer Platz, cyclists are not impressed with the city’s infrastructure.
“There have been a lot of plans, but not much actual building. I think the discussion is happening, but much more needs to be done,” says Elena Witte.
“It is difficult (to cycle). But it is better compared to ten years ago. I come from Freiburg, in South Germany, and there it’s a biking paradise. In comparison to there, it is very hard here. But it is getting better,” says Eva Albers.
But there are other opinions, of course, on the streets of Berlin. Motorists often criticize cycling infrastructure for eating up cars’ public space.
“Of course, each city needs bike paths. But you can’t steal the space from the cars and give it straight to the cyclists,” says Sergei, a car driver.
Some areas that had been dedicated as car-free, such as a section of the Friedrichstrasse street, have seen cars return. Other bike path projects were put on hold, or delayed, pending a review.
But the Christian Democratic party, who made a proposal to change the mobility law in the city, says that they are simply correcting the previous government’s unfair focus on bikes and negative view of other types of transport.
“We think that the safety of all types of transport is important for all,” says Johannes Kraft, mobility spokesperson for the Christian Democrats in Berlin.
“That includes pedestrians, which means mass transit like the underground and local rail and buses. But that also includes the car.”
The German capital is not likely to become car-free anytime soon. If anything, it’s becoming more car-friendly.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.