Conversion plan still controversial City wants to remove parking spaces on Stiftsplatz

Bonn · The Stiftsplatz in Bonn is to be redesigned and upgraded. Around 70 parking spaces are to be eliminated. The City of Bonn currently estimates the costs for this at around 900,000 Euro.

 From car park to green oasis: Stiftsplatz is to be unsealed and converted into a park. In return, about 70 parking spaces are to be eliminated. Photo: Benjamin Westhoff

From car park to green oasis: Stiftsplatz is to be unsealed and converted into a park. In return, about 70 parking spaces are to be eliminated. Photo: Benjamin Westhoff

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

It lies in the shadow of the collegiate church and has a rather Cinderella-like existence: Stiftsplatz. As part of the city centre master plan, the square between Kölnstraße and Welschnonnenstraße is to be redesigned and upgraded in the coming years. The plans were discussed by the Mobility Committee.

So that the application for urban development funding can be submitted to the state in time, the politicians gave the green light to the planning and the further procedure of the administration.

An essential part of the planning is the transformation of Stiftplatz into a kind of park. The administration has proposed to reduce a large part of the 70 parking spaces and to unseal the square. This did not go far enough for the council coalition of Greens, SPD, Left and Volt.

Few parking spaces to remain

All parking spaces are to be eliminated, only a few parking spaces, e.g. for car sharing, are to remain, the committee finally decided on the amendment of the council majority against the votes of the CDU and Bürger Bund Bonn (BBB) with the abstention of the FDP. Although the individual steps for the redesign of the square are still to be discussed in a citizens' workshop, the removal of the parking spaces can no longer be changed.

This aroused the opposition's displeasure. "Marcel Schmitt (BBB) wanted to know: "Has anyone actually spoken to the business people on Stiftplatz? Arno Hospes (CDU) also said, "This is not the right way. You have to get the residents on board first, because they are the ones most affected. His group colleague Torsten Leskien echoed the same sentiment: "An honest public consultation looks different. He criticised that the residents were not allowed to have a say on the question of parking spaces; they were only allowed to choose the "little flowers“.

Administration wants to involve residents

Petra Denny, head of the planning office, assured that the residents would be closely involved in the further planning. However, the administration now needs the decision to apply for subsidies. According to Denny, the costs for the redesign of Stiftsplatz are estimated at around 900,000 Euro. Seventy per cent of this will come from the funding pot of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, so that in the end the city of Bonn will have to come up with about 270,000 Euro itself.

However, it is questionable whether this sum will be enough: Denny expects construction to begin in the second half of 2023 at the earliest. The city of Bonn wants to schedule public participation in the form of a workshop, as was done for the Viktoriakarree, in the first half of next year. In addition, a traffic survey is to be commissioned. According to the administration, some buses will continue to run along Stiftsplatz. Whether individual traffic will also use the two streets on the square after the redesign is still open.

In addition to the unsealing and redesign of the square, a mobile station with a bicycle parking garage is also to be built, according to the current planning status. "In order to do justice to its important urban and functional significance for the inner-city neighbourhood, an important contribution to climate adaptation, such as unsealing and greening, is to be made through additional open space design," the municipal submission continues. The intention is to create an "inner-city place" to linger. The unsealing of paved parking areas creates space for attractive and at the same time biodiverse planting for the benefit of biodiversity.

What many people may not know: In addition to the monuments of the Collegiate Church of St. Johann Baptist and St. Peter, which is also called the "Kuhle Dom" by old Bonn residents, and the Collegiate Fountain, there is a bunker complex from the Second World War under the square. According to the administration, the Office for the Preservation of Archaeological Monuments of the Rhineland Regional Association is currently preparing an expert opinion for the protection of the site. Whether this bunker facility can be made accessible to the public in the future remains to be seen in the further planning process.

Original text: Lisa Inhoffen

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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