Swimming pools in the region Parking lot struggles and long lines

Siebengebirge · The hot summer is sending lots of people not only to outdoor pools in Bonn, but also to the pools in the Siebengebirge near by. Parking is at a premium and can become an issue when emergency access is blocked.

It was the hottest June since weather statistics have been kept on file and this brought a record-breaking numbers of visitors to outdoor swimming pools in the Siebengebirge (Seven Mountains). Long queues formed in front of the cashiers at the pools in Königswinter, Oberpleis and on the island of Grafenwerth. In the parking lots, there were sometimes especially chaotic conditions on the weekends.

With 18,025 visitors in the first four weeks since 1 June, the Lemmerz outdoor pool had almost three times as many swimmers as a year ago. In June, 2018 only 6,762 people had visited the pool at the Oberweingartenweg. Surprisingly, the ideal weather for the outdoor swimming pool did not affect the indoor swimming pool figures either. According to Ingolf Pott, Managing Director of Schwimmreff GmbH, which operates both pools, they had 10,000 visitors, including clubs and school sports groups, and children celebrating birthdays. In the first half of the year, 70,000 visitors were registered, 3,000 more than expected. "Both pools are very well received," says Pott.

The onslaught of visitors also has unpleasant side-effects. On Sunday the way to the outdoor swimming pool became an ordeal. While the parking lot and streets around the Oberpleiser Strandbad pool were only completely full in the afternoon, the Lemmerz outdoor pool already had almost no free parking space on Sunday morning. In Bad Honnef and at the Insel Freibad pool, the people just kept coming. At the Königswinter pool, the number of visitors waiting in line at the cashier stretched all the way to the parking lot after only a half hour. At lunchtime, it was a dicey situation: cars were parked in third and fourth rows, blocking each other; and others parked their cars in prohibited areas along the Wald Cemetery, blocking all traffic coming and going.

Pott says that the long line of visitors has to do with parking fees, which were introduced in June. Those who present their parking ticket at the pool cashier, receive half of the parking fee back. The city of Königswinter bears these costs. The parking fees, costing between two and fours euros, are charged by the owner of the parking lot, a private firm. Owner Fiona Achenbach says so far they have received no complaints. The parking system has been positively received.

Because rescue services would be unable to get through due to vehicles parked on Oberweingartenweg, the outdoor pool management informed the police on Sunday. Car owners were asked several times to move their cars through announcements at the outdoor pool. "Even after the announcements, nine out of 25 vehicles were still parked in prohibited spaces," said department head Jüngling. As a result, warning fines were issued. Swimming pool visitors also parked in Oberpleis on both sides of Dollendorfer Straße. "That was not okay. One could have intervened here. However, we did not take action because it was not clear that rescue services would had been obstructed," said Jüngling.

In Bad Honnef, too, the weather resulted in a record number of visitors to the swimming pool and a shortage of parking spaces, just like the weekend before. However, complaints did not reach the city, said Hans-Joachim Lampe-Booms, head of the city's swimming pool operations.

Original text: Heike Hamann , Claudia Sülzen and Hansjürgen Melzer

Translation: ck

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