Berlin mobilizes – car-free

Election platform 2021 Chapter 3

Sheet metal avalanche? A thing of the past!

The interaction of small initiatives, large associations and successful referendums has mobilized Berlin's citizens to drastically transform its traffic "from the bottom”. We support the "Berlin car-free referendum," that wants to let Berlin’s citizens vote  creating a car-free zone within the S-Bahn ring. 

We oppose the despondency of Berlin's transport policy to date with a visionary program for the mobility of tomorrow. We strongly criticize the current lack of initiative of Berlin’s transport policy. Instead we propose a visionary program to ensure mobility in the future. Our concept is inclusive, citizen-oriented, socially compatible and environmentally friendly. It is based on suggestions from many metropolises and scientifically proven measures, in close cooperation with research, science and technology. Vision Zero, i.e. zero traffic deaths in Berlin, should no longer be a goal, but finally a reality. Local public transportation must be massively expanded. Buses and trains will run more frequently. Fares will become cheaper. In this way, we will make Berlin fit for the 21st century and set an example for the world.

Car-free and cycling

We will make large parts of the city center and all residential neighborhoods car-free by 2030. The needs of all people and businesses that depend on a vehicle will be taken into account. Cars will soon play a subordinate role in outer districts as well. The remaining vehicles are smaller, quieter, drive electrically and slowly to minimize accidents. We are giving priority to a comprehensive and safe cycling infrastructure.

To this end, we want to finally implement the proposals of Berlin's bicycle associations, which they regularly present to the Senate and the districts. For example, there will be wide and structurally secure bike lanes on every street. All dead end streets with streets behind them will be equipped with a bicycle ford and one-way streets will be usable on both sides for cyclists. All intersections will be redesigned with a focus on the safety of vulnerable road participants. They have separate traffic light phases for cyclists and offer clear visibility between sidewalks and traffic lanes. Accident sites are analyzed immediately and improvements implemented. With targeted incentives at senate and district level, we will get the bicycle expansion going - according to mutually agreed standards that apply equally in all districts. Year after year, we will provide 365 kilometers of new bike lanes - one per day. In this way, we will make cycling in Berlin fast, comfortable and safe - for children and racing cyclists alike.

Fair distribution of space

Seventy-eight percent of Berlin's current traffic areas belong to the car. And this despite the fact that only a quarter of all journeys are made by car. This is unreasonable, unfair and harms the climate, nature and people. We are implementing a radical redistribution of transportation space in favor of public transport, sharing services, cycling and walking. Climate-friendly means of transport are at the center of our concept. The car becomes the exception - because it is no longer necessary. And those who act now will be rewarded: with a scrapping bonus for combustion engines. Those who give up their cars will receive a subsidy of 1,000 euros on public transport tickets or the purchase of a bicycle. Car streets will then become car-free bicycle and play streets. By 2025, we want to free half of all neighborhoods from cars; large, business-rich streets such as Friedrichstrasse, Schlossstrasse or Ku'damm will permanently become inviting pedestrian zones. Bicycle paths will be extended and linked, parking lots will be unsealed, and neighborhoods will be transformed into small oases. This will benefit not only residents but also local businesses.

Parks and squares instead of parking lots

We will return vacant traffic areas to the people of Berlin and make them accessible for shared, safe use by all. They will be open for sports and culture, for art and play. Streets will become open stages for theater, music, literature, places to meet, to move, to linger. Berlin will become one big park, where we use the spaces equally. We want to enable and support planting and gardening in the streets. To this end, we will unseal or rededicate 50% of all public parking spaces in the coming election period and make them available to neighborhood residents. Free parking is a thing of the past. Parking space management will finally be extended to the whole of Berlin and the money will be used to transform the city. It is about time! Furthermore, vehicles that park unauthorized in handicapped parking spaces will be towed away immediately. In addition, it will be easier for people with disabilities to be issued a parking permit for handicapped parking spaces. All sidewalks will have non-parkable curb cuts at both ends blocked off with bollards.

Public transport for all

The Berlin public transport company BVG will become the mainstay of future mobility in the capital. To make the switch easier, we are introducing a pay-as-you-go financing ticket for all Berliners. Because if everyone makes a contribution, it will also be cheaper for everyone. The public transport contribution paid by all citizens will make the use of buses, trains and streetcars throughout Berlin freely accessible to all. At the same time, the financing of the expansion of routes and personnel is on a firm footing. It is particularly important to us that Berlin's public transportation system finally becomes completely barrier-free - with regularly maintained elevators and guidance systems for the blind at all stations. In addition, people with walking disabilities should be allowed to carry a bicycle free of charge as an aid for connecting journeys. However, local public transport must finally be taken seriously as part of services of general interest and provided with the necessary funding from the federal government. With strong public transport, the private car will become superfluous. At the same time, we will make it more expensive. The resident parking permit costs 365 euros a year. Parking in the city will cost five euros per hour. In this way, we will actively involve car traffic in the traffic turnaround and thus invest in the expansion of buses and trains. We strictly reject subsidies and premiums for combustion engines or e-cars.

Berlin delivers

Greater Berlin is becoming a city of short distances. In the future, commercial deliveries and parcel services will be handled via micro-hubs, whose planning and development we will promote. Small electric vehicles and bicycles will be delivered to stores in the city's neighborhood centers. Ordered parcels and packages will be distributed to neighborhood depots and picked up by the people themselves. Parcel services that permanently clog up the streets and sidewalks are thus a thing of the past. The local retail trade is strengthened. We make stores in the districts easy to reach and improve local supply.

Zero-emission rides

In addition to reducing and shifting car traffic, we are electrifying mobility. By 2030, the whole of Berlin will gradually become a zero-emission city. Only vehicles with zero-emission drives will be allowed in the city. Regrettably, internal combustion vehicles will have to stay outside. We will ensure that an appropriate charging infrastructure is in place - for all vehicles. The public administration is setting a good example by converting its fleet completely to electric vehicles by 2030. Every new acquisition must already be electric today. BVG will also be fully electric by 2030.

Reversing undesirable developments

Stop the S-Bahn call for public tenders

In order to meet the challenges of a transition to socio-ecological transportation in the hands of the citizens, we reject the tendering of the S-Bahn for operation and maintenance on the sub-networks "North-South" and "Stadtbahn" decided by the Senate. We support the initiative "Eine S-Bahn für Alle" (An S-Bahn for all) and its demand to stop the current tender and the associated further privatization. Our position: Local public transport must not be subject to profit-oriented constraints. It belongs to the services of general interest and should be run in the form of a public enterprise.

Save the Berlkönig

As long as the capacities of the public transport system are not sufficient, the Berlkönig must continue to operate. It has proven its worth as a gap filler to the existing mobility network, especially in the evening hours. Particularly outside the S-Bahn ring, the concept should be increasingly tested and, if necessary, permanently expanded. We want to integrate the Berlkönig as a permanent e-mobility component of the BVG. From now on also fully handicapped accessible and barrier-free.

Deconstruction of the A100

The construction of a freeway in the middle of Berlin is no longer appropriate in the 21st century and threatens to cement car traffic in the urban area for decades to come. We demand the cancellation of the entire project according to planning law, the immediate construction stop for the already approved sections and the consequent dismantling of this fossil mega project. From now on, the federal government should rather invest the tax money for the most expensive road ever built in Germany in climate protection, for example bicycle infrastructure, public transport and climate-friendly long-distance traffic. Our plan for the ex-A100: The autobahn becomes a bicycle expressway with a connected park.

Short-haul flights for insects only

The new Berlin airport is destroying any climate protection efforts by the state. We are fighting for the maximum deconstruction of the airport and an immediate ban on short-haul flights. We also want to reduce climate-damaging flights to distant destinations as much as possible. The climate impact caused by Berlin air traffic is to be reduced by at least 75% by 2026. Flying is extremely unfair - because a small minority of predominantly wealthy frequent flyers cause the majority of all flight emissions and consequential damage. We must take consistent countermeasures here in the interests of climate justice. In addition, the airport must be completely self-supporting. With our support, BER will not receive a single cent of taxpayers' money. We also want to avoid a new terminal for the German government, which is currently being planned. Instead, we will make Berlin a European rail hub. We will also reactivate night train connections. At the federal level, we advocate a heavy tax on kerosene to finance the expansion of the railroads.

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