Streetlife Festival 2015

Streetlife, Park(ing) Day, Critical Mass… A car-free Munich?

No matter which area you work in: September is event month. And it’s no different for us. This week it’s all about the use of public space and a fair distribution for all, whether cars, bike or pedestrians…

Streetlife Festival

After our day out as visitors in May, this weekend we took part in the Streetife Festival as an exhibitor for the first time. The Streetlife Festival began in 2000 as a „Car Free Day“ and has grown over the last 15 years to become (according to the organisers) „the biggest street festival in the galaxy“. The aim of the event however remains the same: to motivate people to lead a conscious lifestyle, to build a colourful city and work for a future that encourages change. The organisers hope to demonstrate with the event that we can design our cities together – one of the topics that we find particularly important.

And apparently so do many of the over 300,000 visitors at the weekend who were enjoying the 1,300 car-free meters between Odeonsplatz and Münchner Freiheit. We had many interesting conversations and were pleased to welcome lots of visitors to our stand. The best thing though was seeing the potential for a higher quality of life for all in the city centre. Whilst we were building our stand before the event started, there were joggers, bikers and kids playing up and down the huge space on Leopoldstraße. Some people were just out for a quiet walk. Others had decided to go by foot for a change from Odeonsplatz to the Englischer Garten, instead of getting the Ubahn two stops to Gieselstraße. The atmosphere on Leopoldstraße was amazing: relaxed, happy and friendly. Now we just have to wait 8 months until we can enjoy it again…

In case you didn’t manage to get past the music stages and cocktail stands and make it down to the Bike Mile at the weekend, there’s a second chance to meet us this week:

on Park(ing) Day.

This Friday is the worldwide Park(ing) Day event and DBike is also taking part. In cities from Columbia to Turkmenistan, citizens and businesses will be demonstrating their ideas for an alternative use of public space. Green City e.V. is coordinating the event for Munich and will be hoping to underline their message for a reduction in the number of parking spaces in the Bavarian capital.

By taking part in the event we want to reinforce the importance of a suitable and safe infrastructure for bikes in the city: not just for those people who privately prefer to travel by bike than by car, but also for a strong economy and to support Munich businesses in the city center. Particularly since it has recently been made more difficult to realise improvements to bike infrastructure.

You can find us on Friday between 3-7pm at Sendlinger Straße 27.

Critical Mass

Last but not least… A slight deviation from the usual plan this month due to the Park(ing) Day events: For everyone who is around Gärtnerplatz a little earlier in the evening there is a pre-meeting point at 7:30pm there at the BikeKitchen “Park”. After making our presence known with a few rounds of the Platz it’s on to the Bavaria where it’s back to business as usual. Registration is not necessary but you can let everyone know you’ll be attending here.

7:30pm: Meeting point at Gärtnerplatz at the BikeKitchen stand

8pm: Departure

8:20pm: Arrival at the Bavaria

8:30pm: Start

 

See you then :)

 

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Green City Radl-Shuttle

The Green City e.V. „Radl-Shuttle“ in Munich and why DBike is taking part

For the last week 30-40 cyclists have been meeting every morning at 8:30am at the Stemmerhof to ride together with the “Radl-Shuttle” from Green City e.V down Lindwurmstraße to Sendlinger Tor. The car drivers must be wondering what on earth is going on: in the middle of the rush-hour hectic these cyclists are riding on the right hand traffic lane, where there is a bike path directly adjacent, and don’t even look to be in a hurry – what are they up to, they’re blocking the traffic!

But that’s exactly the point. The cyclists aren’t blocking the traffic, they are part of the traffic. And that’s why they meet every day come rain or shine, to draw attention to the problem. As part of the traffic, cyclists also want to be able to get to work safely and in the current situation that is by no means guaranteed.

Lindwurmstraße serves as an example for many streets in Munich where cyclists are forced to ride on narrow and unsafe, but at the same time compulsory bike paths. The journey under the bridge is particularly dangerous with too many cyclists and pedestrians at the same time just trying to get from one side to the other in one piece. Elsewhere it’s car doors that are swung open as a cyclist is riding by or the ever increasing number of delivery vehicles parked on the bike path. There’s no chance to overtake a slower cyclist on these narrow paths, not to mention no space for evasive maneuvers when a dog or a kid suddenly runs across your way.

If it’s bad now – and it is – what will it be like in a years’ time? Two facts are already known. Firstly, thanks to the many great initiatives and developments over the last years, the number of cyclists in the city is continually increasing. The Landeshauptstadt München has declared a goal of being even more bike-friendly and further increasing the number of bikes on the roads.  „Improve your health, take your bike to work!“ we hear from the guys at the AOK and ADFC during their Ride Your Bike To Work initiative. And secondly: the Munich population just wont stop growing. The demand for housing is increasing at the highest rate in the Bavarian capital. Just at the beginning of the month we heard that there are now as many as 1.5 million of us in the city and that there is no end in sight to the population growth spurt we are seeing. The increasing number of inhabitants however has not lead to an increasing number of cars on the road – more people, who though want to see fewer cars in the city.

It seems pretty clear to us: the situation is going nowhere good. As far as we are aware though, the state government is still yet to make a proposal of how to deal with the situation. So in the meantime, we will continue to ride with the Radl-Shuttle and hope through this initative to increase the pressure on the right people in the right places.

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