BONN Bonn has set itself the goal of becoming the bicycle capital of NRW next year. But bicycle association ADFC is critical, saying many streets and public squares in the city do not have enough bike racks for people to park their bikes.
Whether on Poststrasse, near the central train station or at Kaiserplatz, the picture is the same. Every railing and lantern pole in Bonn city center is encircled by bicycles chained to it. It illustrates a problem that exists in several places in the city center, a lack of proper bicycle parking spaces.
The city administration has known since January 2012 at the latest that the number of parking facilities in the entire city must be increased. At that time it published the "Concept for stationary bicycle traffic in Bonn's inner city", written by the traffic planning office AB Stadtverkehr, looking to the year 2020 - when Bonn is supposed to become the bicycle capital in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Included in that concept is a determination of the demand for bike parking racks in the coming year and assessing what was offered in 2008. At that time, looking forward to 2020, it had been determined that there was a shortage of around 900 bicycle parking spots area around the central train station. Traffic planners even estimated that at least 1,700 bike parking racks were lacking in Bonn inner city.
Shortages at the central train station
Just one look and it is clear that the demand cannot be met in many places. The situation at the main train station is particularly precarious, with the construction work having necessitated the removal of some bike parking facilities.
"We were told there would be 800 new bike parking spots after completion of the construction work," says Werner Böttcher, transport policy spokesman for the ADFC Bonn/Rhein-Sieg. "We assume, however, that this number will not be sufficient." According to the city, between 1,400 and 1,500 parking spaces will be available at the main train station next year, which would be around 500 fewer than the demand stated in the draft plan.
Böttcher also sees it as problematic that the 550 parking spaces at the Caritas bicycle station on Quantiusstraße are completely filled by long-term parkers and used for Caritas itself. But besides the need at Bonn Central Station, he also sees a large demand for bike parking on Münsterplatz. An official with the ADFC, Rainer Bohnet says there would be room around the periphery for bike parking spaces, keeping in mind they would have to be placed so they would not block the area during big events.
Underground garages as a possible alternative?
Böttcher has another idea when it comes to bike facilities: "It would be good to set up parking spaces in underground garages, which would also be a new business model for the operator”. But one such operator and a city spokesperson expressed safety concerns because bikes and cars would have to share entrances and exits. Exceptions are the Stadthausgarage, where there are already bicycle parking spots, and the garage currently under construction on Rabinstraße northwest of the main train station.
According to the city, the long planned work for the Bike&Ride facilities at the UN Campus station will begin in April and be completed in August or September. As reported, there will be 160 parking spots on the west side and 64 on the east side. Commuters there are also currently using railings to lock up their bikes.
(Orig. text: Matthias Kirch; Translation: ck)