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Bikes vs Cars: Auftakt des Filmclubs von Technik Salon und PZH Zukunftslabor zur urbanen Verkehrsplanung

Bikes vs. Cars: Kick-off of the Filmclub of Technik Salon and PZH Future Lab on urban traffic planning

How do cities all over the world solve the problem that more and more people are buying a car and these cars are clogging up the cities more and more? Is the bike the solution? The first Filmclub of the Technik Salon in cooperation with the Production Technology Centre attracted many bicycle fans to Garbsen with the Swedish documentary BIKES vs. CARS and the following expert discussion.

Professor Bernhard Friedrich, head of the Institute for Transport and Urban Planning at the Technical University of Braunschweig, is an expert in traffic planning. Like Klaus Geschwinder, who is team leader for traffic development in the Hanover region, and together with around 80 visitors to the Technik Salon, he saw the Swedish documentary film from 2015. "The film has addressed this correctly," he says during the subsequent conversation, "we're prisoners of the system." He cites a city planner from Sao Paulo, portrayed in the film, who calls for a real paradigm shift away from autocentrism in the congested metropolis, but admits that this change is so difficult to achieve because of the interests of powerful companies.

Klaus Geschwinder adds that decisions on the use of locations are decisive for determining which means of transport people will use to get around for decades. "Planners had to see how the wrong course had been set for decades and how infrastructure panning was done without thinking of pedestrians and cyclists. Now we see exactly that again in the up-and-coming cities."

Bicycle vs. car in the Hanover region

Eckhard Stasch from the Technik Salon moderates the discussion with the two bicycle-friendly experts, the audience engages again and again - with remarks or critical enquiries about this or that traffic situation, bicycle roads and strips in Hanover. Geschwinder asks for a little patience: "What has been created since the 1960s in the sense of a car-friendly city can not be completely changed within a few years. And finally, a bicycle-friendly conversion of the city and region is an expression of the citizens' will, which, according to Geschwinder, could still be articulated in a somewhat clearer manner.

However, both experts are generally optimistic, especially with regard to the regional trend: In Hanover, almost one in four routes is now covered by bicycle, and the use of public transport is increasing year after year. Geschwinder hopes that commuters, who come to Hanover by car from outside, will also be able to be meaningfully integrated into new traffic concepts via P&R, for example. He does not believe that electric cars are the solution - traffic flows can be bundled in cities, so that there is no need for individual traffic areas. Friedrich finds that parking space is far too cheap:"Occupying ten square meters of space in the city center with a car: the current parking fees are not appropriate for this." 

And global? Friedrich, who also teaches in Rio in Brazil, assumes that the mega-cities suffocating in car traffic will lose out globally. Their quality of life is getting worse and worse. "There won't be any disruptive change, but there will be one in the long run."

The PZH and traffic planning

"This location is as it should not be,"commented regional planner Geschwinder the location of PZH and future Campus Maschinenbau. He lists: walking distance from the tram station - one kilometre. But the highway is right outside the door. A horror in terms of urban planning. The good news from both guests for current and future employees at this location is that there will in any case be a convenient shuttle bus connection, which is directly linked to the tramway. A research project in Braunschweig is currently examining the possibility of operating this shuttle autonomously.

Also, the bike speedway between the main university and PZH is not quite off the table. Even if the implementation is not yet foreseeable and the routing is difficult: the plan is alive, according to regional planner Geschwinder.

At least in Sao Paulo there is a happy end for the cyclists in the film: While in Toronto the (now deceased) mayor Rob Ford lets the cycle path markings scratch, in Sao Paulo miles of cycle paths are created overnight, by eliminating parking lots.

Movie trailer: www.vimeo.com/ondemand/bikesvscars

Information about the next events of the Technik Salon: www.technik-salon.de