Bonn · Since January, the ring road circling Bonn city has been cut off to motorists in part. The city is planning more changes in traffic flow. A bus lane is to make way for an additional biking lane.
Maximilianstraße, which had been closed to traffic because of construction, was initially expected to open again on April 7. But the city wants to keep it shut off to motorists so it can further test the effects of the closure. A draft resolution on the matter will be put forward to the city council during its meeting on Tuesday, March 20.
The city administration is considering the controversial idea of prohibiting traffic on the section of the inner city ring between Rathausgasse and the Bonn Central Train Station at some point in the future. Urban developers believe that reducing traffic there would improve connections for city visitors.
By continuing with the traffic pattern as it is currently, the city hopes to gain more insight about how traffic flows when some other conditions return to normal. Besides the blocking off of Maximilianstraße, the left turn from Belderberg onto Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz will also remain in place.
Change in front of the university
From the perspective of city engineering, the left-hand turn works well. But they cannot tell for sure as the extensive and prolonged construction around Römerstraße and a corresponding one-way street mean there is not much traffic at the normally busy intersection at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz. That construction site is expected to be gone around April or May, which could mean increased oncoming traffic and problems for those turning left from Belderberg Straße. Civil engineering director Peter Esch sees the potential for congestion in this area.
The city is planning a significant measure for the road in front of the university as well. Currently, there are two lanes, one of them reserved for buses. The city wants to use the bus lane for cyclists coming from the opposite direction, providing them with a path down to the banks of the Rhine. Some retrofitting would have to happen in terms of traffic lights and markings, and buses and cars would have to share the other lane.
Bike club favors the changes
The General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) welcomes a separate lane for bikers. "This would finally make the market square and the banks of the Rhine easily accessible for cyclists," says spokesman Werner Böttcher. He suggests securing the bike lane with flower tubs or other means "to convey a sense of security". In general, he sees the traffic changes as positive as he believes there are too few possibilities for cyclists to bike through the inner city.
Adalbert von der Osten, Managing Director of the retail association Bonn / Rhein-Sieg / Euskirchen, sees it differently and says merchants report fewer people coming and going since January. And the conditions around the bus station and Hofgarten are still chaotic. The Bonn taxi cooperative is also annoyed. Chief Claus Lenz said taxi drivers have massive problems getting to the main train station. The route over Reuterstraße and Bonner Talweg is constantly clogged up.
The Stadtwerke (City public works) which operates the buses is “not so enthusiastic” about losing the dedicated bus lane, but they are prepared to remain open about the concept and work together with the city.
Orig. text: Philipp Königs, Translation: ck