Comment: Fundamental change: Is Bochum willing to be a green city?
No need for a car
A new spirit of sustainability: Bochum, the bicycle city.
A new spirit of sustainability: Bochum, the bicycle city.

Bochum was famous for coal mines, steel manufacture and later on for its car industry. Now, the city is restructuring once again and disassociates itself from the old automobile image. But are politics, city administration and local societal players willing to initiate a post-car future with modern infrastructure for bikes, e-bikes, green spaces, clean public transport and a reduction of cars in the centre? The answer is yes, and no. 

Bochum – a city without cars, being a modern green metropolis of the Ruhr Area? There is evidence that the local Green Party and Social Democrats are really trying to transform the old dusty image. And yes, they have necessarily implemented some projects for a structural change: Since May, Bochum is part of the committee of pedestrian- and cycle-friendly cities, communities and counties (AGFS). Even senior mayor Eiskirch is now endowed with a company bicycle. Additionally Bochum is simultaneously part of the “RS1”, an over 100 kilometres long freeway for bicycles connecting the Ruhr Area between Hamm and Duisburg. But is that enough?

More sharing economy, more infrastructure, less cars!

Although old bike lanes were retrieved within the Viktoriastraße near the new concert hall „Musikforum“ and by-pass roads such as Bessemer Straße are currently completely modernised, there is still a lot of work to do. The Greens have indeed announced to create new bicycle parking lots but otherwise removed the bicycle way next to the Musikforum which the ADFC rightly denounced. 

It is no surprise that Bochum is placed on rank 37 in the “Fahrradklima-Index” of 39 of the biggest cities in Germany. I therefore demand more effort to establish better infrastructure for bikes, more money for public transport to relieve students going to University via U35 and a ban on cars in the inner city. More Car-Sharing spots and less parking spaces to create a new “green” spirit in the former car city. The odds are in our favour. 

 

Gastautor :Tim Schwermer