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Route from Bonn to Alfter: Trees in the nature reserve have to give way for the cycle route

Route from Bonn to Alfter : Trees in the nature reserve have to give way for the cycle route

The administration sees no alternative to cutting down trees when expanding the bicycle commuter route on the short section through the "Kappesland and Meßdorferfeld" nature reserve. Despite planned compensatory measures, there is opposition from citizens.

The fact that trees are to be felled for the planned high-speed cycle route from Bonn via Bornheim to Alfter has met with opposition from GA readers. As reported, the approximately nine-kilometer-long section is to be routed as directly as possible and be wide - around four meters - so that cyclists can make rapid progress on their way to work. The corresponding resolution was passed in 2014.

The planned route basically runs along light rail line 18, with some sections needing to be renovated or upgraded. In Dransdorf, the route runs from Mörikeweg to the city border for around 500 meters through the "Kappesland and Meßdorfer Feld" nature reserve. No changes to the landscape may actually be made there unless the nature conservation council approves the measures and grants the lower nature conservation authority an exemption. It has done so - on the grounds that the intervention would not cause any major damage to the ecological balance.

Among other things, according to the administration, at least four large trees - holly oaks and sal willows - must be felled to optimize the route along the Vorgebirgsbahnweg. A Dransdorfer had suggested to the general indicator he could estimate the age of the Stileichen from personal memory on approximately 70 years. He demands that the city find another solution.

In search of the optimal route

Susanne Walter also pleads for a different solution. She is active with Parents for Future. "Because of climate protection, nature, trees, species must be preserved," she argues. From her point of view, this goal has priority over bike paths, but also over housing. Walter has approached the city planning office to ask if there isn't an alternative to cutting down trees. And she wants to know if the widening is even necessary. "Everything should be done to preserve such trees and at the same time find a good solution for widening the bike path.“

The cycle route is a central route connection and the expansion decided by the policy, is explained on the part of the city planning office. On the one hand, the measure should enable safe and comfortable cycling and, on the other hand, encourage more people to switch to sustainable means of transport. "This can make a significant contribution to climate protection," the statement says. As part of the planning process, various alternatives were examined for the route, it said. The decision was made in favor of the variant through the landscape conservation area.

In accordance with the requirements, a landscape conservation plan and tree and species protection reports were commissioned. "Unfortunately, there is no alternative to the necessary tree felling in the course of the expansion planning," explains the administration. The widening is mandatory to ensure the safety distance of cyclists in oncoming traffic. Widening the road on the other side of the carriageway is not possible, as there are power lines there.

Replacement plantings in the surrounding area

It is mandatory that the loss of trees and other interventions in nature must be compensated. Compensatory measures and replacement plantings in the immediate vicinity are planned. "Yes, then on the one hand the joy about the bike path, but unfortunately also the great regret about the loss of the old trees remains. And I hope for appropriate compensatory measures," says Parents for Future member Susanne Walter.

The administration is under time pressure to implement the measure. The bike commuter route is part of a funding project of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in which Bonn also participates via the state of North Rhine-Westphalia; the corresponding resolution was passed by the Council in March 2019. The specific projects are called Municipal Climate Protection, keyword Emission-Free City Center. The funding period for these projects ends in October 2022, by which time the measures must have been completed. The administration explains the delay in part by the fact that the internal administrative coordination could not be completed on time. From March 30 to September 1, various work such as tree felling must be suspended due to the nesting and hatching protection.

(Original text: Jutta Specht, Translation: Mareike Graepel)