Bonn Visitors to Bonn's city center consider it to be more attractive than average, according to a new survey. But there are shortcomings in accessibility and the overall welcoming qualities.
Despite the Corona pandemic, Bonn's city center remains more attractive than average, especially for female shoppers. This is the result of a recent survey of 1,000 pedestrians in the city center, conducted by the Cologne Institute for Retail Research (IFH). The survey took place at the end of September, before the second lockdown. Parallel surveys were conducted in other cities of comparable size with 200,000 and 500,000 inhabitants - in Bielefeld, Bochum, Braunschweig, Karlsruhe, Kassel, Krefeld, Lübeck, Magdeburg, Mannheim, Mönchengladbach and Rostock.
With an overall score of 2.2, Bonn was well above the average of 2.6 (1.0 being the best). Representatives of the city's economic development agency and the retail association were pleased with the results, which were announced on Thursday. Victoria Appelbe, who oversees economic development for the city, spoke in an online press conference, calling it a "tremendously positive result". This was an improvement from the last such study which gave Bonn a 2.5 score. The closing down of stores such as J.F. Carthaus, Karstadt, Puppenkönig and Zara, apparently have less influence on visitor satisfaction than is often thought. According to the IFH, Rostock is the city that leads in terms of the overall rating, flair and quality. Mannheim has the best mix of stores when it comes to retail.
Accessibility needs improvement
Based on a traffic light rating of green, red or yellow, Bonn residents gave accessibility to the city a green light overall. But accessibility with car or bicycle received only a satisfactory yellow. Bonn also rated only average when it came to the condition of city squares, walkways, green spaces, seating and opportunities to stick around and spend some time or experience something special. More than 60 percent of respondents were in favor of urgent improvements in the last two points. The mix of retailers in the city center did not please everyone. Deficits were noted when it came to office supplies and stationery, furniture and consumer electronics, and groceries.
According to the survey, it is mainly Bonn residents who visit the city center pedestrian area on Saturdays (61.2 percent), while on weekdays it is the preferred destination of people from the Rhine-Sieg district, Euskirchen and Ahrweiler. At 54.2 percent, their share is significantly higher than the average for the comparison cities (39.9 percent). Even though Bonn is not one of the major cities in the country, it continues to be highly attractive for the region. Incidentally, this is particularly true for females: 59.3 percent of respondents were women - also slightly more than in cities of comparable size.
Jannis Vassiliou, Chairman of the Bonn, Rhein-Sieg, Euskirchen Retail Association, raised some political concerns after taking in the results: "We must not gamble away the accessibility of the city center," he said. After all, the majority (40.3 percent) come by car, only 31 percent by bus and train, 15 percent on foot and 13 percent by bicycle. In a written statement, he accused the city of deliberately obstructing traffic. Through "the constant test phases the administration has implemented in the Cityring, the closure of streets or the change of the direction of travel", he said, access for visitors to the city center and especially for out-of-town visitors was deliberately made more difficult" so that they would not come to Bonn by car. Instead, Vassiliou pleaded for significantly curbing the daily flow of commuters either through Park&Ride offers or the use of home offices.
(Orig. text: Martin Wein / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)