What a good idea!

Car free cities — this should be the goal for all of our civic centres

Berlin is planning a car-free area larger than Manhattan

The citizen-driven plan that the city is considering now would create the largest car-free area in a city anywhere in the world.
Berlin is planning a car-free area larger than Manhattan
[Photo: courtesy Nik Kaestner]

By Adele Peters 01-13-22 in Fast Company

In 2019, at a bar in Berlin, three friends were having a drink when they started considering a radical idea: What if the middle of their then car-centric city became essentially car free? Over the next few months, they kept talking about the idea and eventually created a group: Volksentscheid Berlin Autofrei, or People’s Decision for Auto-Free Berlin. The goal, they agreed, should be to limit cars within the space inside the Ringbahn, a huge circular train line in the city. The space is larger than Manhattan—and if the plan can succeed, it would be the largest car-free area in any city in the world.

[Image: City of Berlin]

Working with pro bono lawyers, the group crafted a proposed new law spelling out what would change. As in other cities, “car free” doesn’t literally mean that no cars could enter the area, but private car use would dramatically drop. Special permits would be given to emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, taxis, commercial and delivery vehicles (though many deliveries in Berlin already happen on cargo bikes), and residents with limited mobility who depend on cars. Others would be able to use a car, likely through a car-sharing program, up to 12 times a year to run longer errands. But most people, most of the time, would walk, bike, or take public transportation.

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How to achieve zero emissions. Where powered transport is required this could easily be electrified. Choose your government representatives wisely, and this could be Australia’s future. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting Guide can help you achieve this.

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