Bonn · The first of two environmental lanes on the Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring is now ready. Not all drivers are yet sticking to the markings. There have been no major traffic jams so far.
The environmental lane on Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring is readyin the direction of Duisdorf. It is indicated by yellow markings and new traffic signs. There have been no major traffic jams so far, but traffic is not as heavy as usual now because of the autumn holidays and the fine weather. While taxi drivers criticise the environmental lane, the local branch of the German Cyclists' Club (ADFC) thinks it is the right way to go.
At least part of the environmental lane on the Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring is ready sooner than many people thought. The city council says that all the work should be completed by the end of October, including the lane leading into the city centre. But in places where markings have already been applied and traffic signs are in place, they will apply even before then. And so the route out of town is now marked with yellow dashed lines. On Wednesday, traffic was flowing smoothly, except for minor traffic jams during rush hour. What was chaotic was the behaviour of drivers, many of whom chose to ignore the new markings, much to the annoyance of cyclists, who did not feel safe in the environmental lane.
Environmental lanes differ
Both lanes are 3.25 metres wide, the right one is reserved for buses and bicycles during the day. Between 10pm and 5am, cars can also use the right lane. In addition, buses can overtake cyclists going out of town: they are allowed to cross the dotted line into the left-hand car lane and, once they have passed the slower cyclist, rejoin the lane on the right. This was also suggested by the ADFC to improve traffic flow.
However, the environmental lane in the direction of the city centre will look different. In the meantime, a kerb in the middle of the Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring has been removed so that there is enough space on the road. While the car lane on this side will also measure 3.25 metres, the environmental lane will be a whopping 4.80 metres wide. It will be separated by a solid line, so that buses and cyclists will be able to pass without being able to cross into the car lanes.
Taxi drivers think it’s humbug
Rainer Knees, who has been a taxi driver in Bonn for more than 40 years, thinks the new traffic regulation is humbug, "because it is not integrated into an overall concept and there is no way of knowing what the developments at the Endenicher Ei and Tausendfüßler construction sites will look like". Knees expects that traffic may well flow on the Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring, but that the surrounding streets will create traffic jams. He and his colleagues have already gathered experience on Oxfordstraße, where he believes there is more congestion since the separate cycle lane has been in place. The city administration, on the other hand, says there have been no special incidents. The taxi driver’s prediction for the new environmental lane is that "buses will go faster on Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring to Rochusstraße and end up standing there because there is no movement." For cyclists, he also thinks the side routes, especially at Meßdorfer Feld, are more attractive than cycling along in the heavy traffic.
ADFC wants a transport network for cyclists
Axel Möhrer of the ADFC disagrees. He says that the route along Meßdorfer Feld is particularly unpopular at night because many cyclists do not feel safe there in the dark. The direct, straight route via the ring road to the city centre is much better. "As with the traffic network for cars, the routes for cyclists also have different functions," he explains. If you want to get from A to B quickly on your electric bike, you choose a route where you can go fast - like on Oxfordstraße or Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring. "Anyone who is a bit unsure, such as a school child, is more likely to choose a different, quieter route." There is also of traffic to and from certain directions on the east-west axis: for example, there are a lot of student residences in this part of the city, and supermarkets further into the centre of the city, which are heavily frequented. (Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach / Translation: Jean Lennox)