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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the region

Effects of new ‘emergency break’ rules in Bonn, call for tenders to redesign the Rhine promenade, plans underway to reconstruct the central bus station, and Astronomy on Tap virtual meeting - here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Federal emergency brake in force

BONN. The nationwide so-called ‘emergency brake’ has been in effect in Bonn since Saturday. Following implementation of the night-time curfew under the new rules, the city was as good as empty on Saturday night. The main areas such as the Hofgarten, Frankenbad, and Münsterplatz were quiet. At Frankenbadplatz, a popular meeting place in the Old Town, around two dozen people were sitting in small groups until shortly before 10 pm. The public order office was waiting, and from 10pm onwards made those present aware of the restrictions in a friendly but firm manner. The groups dispersed and started to make their way home. In the city centre, it was mainly individuals who were out and about.

Since Saturday, tightened access restrictions have also been in place for supermarkets and other shops selling daily necessities. These did not lead to any major waiting times for customers in Bonn on the first day of the new regulation, with only a few queues forming at times in front of the stores.

As the seven-day incidence in Bonn is far above the critical mark of 100, now only half as many customers are allowed into supermarkets as before, in accordance with the Corona ‘emergency brake’ introduced by the federal government. The Infectious Diseases Protection Act states that the number of customers must be limited to one person per 20 square metres in shops with a sales area of up to 800 square metres and to one person per 40 square metres if the sales area exceeds 800 square metres.

“For our store on Bornheimer Straße, this means that a maximum of 80 people are allowed in at the same time,” explains Edeka store owner Christopher Mohr. The new regulation came at very short notice for him: "But we are flexible and can adapt quickly," says Mohr. It was only a small logistical effort to put up barrier tape and signs on the entrance door pointing out the new regulations, he said.

Other stores are checking the number of customers via the number of shopping trolleys in use, or are deploying extra security staff to provide support.

(Original text: Fabian Schäfer / Sebastian Flick)

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City of Bonn to launch tender competition for new Rhine promenade

BONN. The Bonn Transport and Mobility Committee has paved the way for a redesign of the left bank of the Rhine promenade in the section between the Rosental and Zweiter Fährgasse streets. Subject to city council approval, the city administration department will be able to prepare the European-wide call for tenders for the urban development project on the Rhine promenade, including the area in front of the opera. The tender competition will be open to 15 landscape architecture and traffic planning offices.

The city administration describes the framework conditions of the tender as follows: “The aim of the competition and the design brief is to plan the entire riverbank zone as a new 'Rheinuferboulevard Bonn', including the streetscape, so that people are encouraged to spend time there, and in particular taking into account the aspects of climate change adaptation and future-oriented mobility.”

The outline of the contract also incorporated suggestions from Bonn residents which were provided during an online event organised by the city. Participants hoped above all for a car-free promenade that is accessible to all. The issue of future traffic routing was again a point of contention for the Transport Committee on Tuesday. The alliance factions of the Greens, SPD, Left and Volt parties pushed through an amendment requiring that the entire planning area (a total of 55,000 square metres) be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, with exceptions for residents’ vehicles travelling at walking speed, buses to the jetties and visitors to the opera car park.

A decision by the city council is expected shortly. In its submission, the city administration emphasises the urgency of the decision, so as not to jeopardise the considerable state subsidies, which are tied to deadlines, within the framework of the Inner City Master Plan. Overall, the city forecasts total costs of 13.5 million Euro, of which the state would cover twelve million. The first excavators are scheduled to start rolling at the end of 2023. The new Rhine promenade should be completed by 2027.

(Original text: Philipp Königs)

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Plans for bus station conversion

BONN. Reconstruction of the Central Bus Station (ZOB) in Bonn will become a priority following a decision by the Bonn Transport Committee on Tuesday evening. However, the city council is the decision-making body. In addition to the present design concept by Cologne-based ‘Stefan Schmitz BDA Architekten und Stadtplaner’ from 2009, the city administration department is to initiate two further, alternative design concepts for elaboration. It is unclear whether the Cologne company will prepare these two other plans or whether the city administration department will commission other offices to do so. Petra Denny, head of the planning department, informed the Transport Committee that the Cologne-based company had filed a copyright claim, which still had to be examined by the legal department.

The goal is to create a fully accessible bus station at the main station, if possible with permanent weather protection, taking into account possible trolley buses and with additional parking areas for bikes. Construction would begin in 2023. A key point is that the planners are to build the new ZOB without car traffic. Before the end of this year, they want to cut off the Cityring in front of Wesselstraße and at Kaiserplatz.

The planning office presented a draft plan which envisages a large traffic island for travellers and commuters, a high-rise building for Stadtwerke Bus und Bahn (SWB) and a bicycle parking facility, as well as the bus platforms arranged in a saw tooth layout around the island. In addition to planned public participation in the planning, there would be a need for further coordination with the Stadtwerke and the ADFC (German Cyclists’ Federation).

The draft plan has been met with criticism. Bernhard Meier from the ADFC said that pedestrians and cyclists could easily come into conflict with each other. He is not convinced about the sense of a bicycle parking facility on the Kaiserplatz side - i.e. quite far away from the main station. Rolf Beu (Greens) called the existing ZOB from the 1970s a “relic from the Stone Age of transport policy” that should be replaced by a modern building. Marcel Schmitt of the Bürger Bund Bonn believes that the alliance on the committee is pursuing a one-sided transport policy without a sense of proportion. “Traders depend on the accessibility of the city centre, even by car”, he said.

(Original text: Philipp Königs)

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Astronomy on Tap’s next virtual meeting

BONN. Astronomy on Tap Bonn is going virtual due to #covid-19 restrictions on public life. Join the group on Tuesday 27th April at 19:00 on YouTube live for another virtual event. This month features talks from Dr Herbert Nett on "Earth Observation at ESA - Exploring the Atmosphere" and from Manali Jeste on "A tale of dying stars". The event includes a live quiz where one lucky winner will receive a super astro prize via mail. For more information, follow the group on Facebook and YouTube (Astronomy on Tap Bonn) and Instagram & Twitter (@aotbonn), or send an email to AoTBonn@gmail.com.

(Translations: Caroline Kusch)