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Criticism of coalition agreement: Seven industry associations concerned about Bonn’s city centre

Criticism of coalition agreement : Seven industry associations concerned about Bonn’s city centre

Trade and industry representatives can certainly find positives in the coalition agreement. But they reject a comprehensive 30 km/h speed limit, environmental lanes and a car-free city centre.

Seven industry associations responsible for the city of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg District are sceptical that business interests and the associated jobs will be sufficiently taken into account under the leadership of the new council coalition. In an interview with the GA, they praised parts of the alliance agreement between the Greens, SPD, Left Party and Volt. On key points, however, the associations have a completely different view from that expressed by the alliance in its coalition agreement.

The industry associations consider the six-lane expansion of the so-called centipede bridge construction to be imperative. “The centipede bridge has been a problem for 40 years. We need it so that the logistics sector and industry can continue to function reliably, and also increasingly to transfer goods to ships,” said Stefan Hagen, President of the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK). He advocates “ideology-free and technology-open solutions” to bring goods to the customer. On the other hand, a simplified and cheaper ticket structure for local transport, even beyond the city borders, is definitely in the interest of the economy, he says. However, he believes that the development of a viable park-and-ride system can only be successful if the parking spaces are created on the periphery of the city and not in urban areas.

Garrelt Duin, head of the Chamber of Trade in Cologne, which is responsible for Bonn, and Thomas Radermacher from the board of the District Chamber of Trade, expressed considerable reservations about introducing a 30 km/h speed limit across the board in a project trial, and about creating environmental lanes for buses and cyclists on main traffic routes such as the Hermann-Wandersleb-Ring. According to Duin, this would further increase the economic losses already suffered by businesses due to traffic jams and slow-moving traffic. Radermacher comments, “If there are to be environmental lanes, they should at least be made available to tradesmen.”

Karina Kröber (City-Marketing Association), Jannis Vassiliou (Retail Association), Michael Schlößer (Dehoga) und Dirk Vianden (Haus & Grund) appealed to keep the roads into the city centre open for car traffic. Kröber says, “If Bornheimer Straße is closed to traffic on Hochstadenring, we fear congestion on Thomastraße and other residental streets.” The Inner City Master Plan includes plans for traffic calming on Bornheimer Strasse between Heinrich-Böll-Ring and the Alter Friedhof in the years to come.

In Vassiliou’s opinion, additional parking spaces for bicycles on the outskirts of the city centre are definitely desirable. “At the same time, however, it is important for us to increase accessibility because the proportion of older citizens in this city is growing,” he says. Dehoga chairman Michael Schlößer sees good approaches in the planned upgrade of the Rhine promenade. Releasing small parking areas for outdoor restaurants could be a sensible idea. In addition to good accessibility, the city must work on its attractiveness, he says. He is sceptical that the number of professional overnight stays for congresses will remain the same after the pandemic. “Tourist overnight stays will have to become more important.”

Vianden (Haus & Gund) and Hagen (IHK) support the coalition’s commitment to building additional housing and to strengthening the municipal housing company Vebowag. However, Vianden considers the allocation of municipal land exclusively on a leasehold basis to be harmful to the economy. “No business person will be able to get a bank loan on such a basis.” Hagen believes that Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg District must cooperate more closely with each other, for example in designating industrial estates and promoting business (the coalition has set out to strengthen business promotion with a special focus on the start-up scene). Regional collaboration should be a joint undertaking and not a double structure in both the city and the district authorities, says Hagen.

(Original text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Caroline Kusch)