Feb 12, 2014

Hamburg Sets Out to Become a Car-Free City in 20 Years

By Ignasi Jorro / 02b.com

Hamburg City Council has disclosed ambitious plans to divert most cars away from its main thoroughfares in twenty years. In order to do so, local authorities are to connect pedestrian and cycle lanes in what is expected to become a large green network. In all, the Grünes Netz (Green Web) plan envisages “eliminating the need for automobiles” within two decades.

By connecting the entire urban centre with its outskirts Hamburg is expecting to smooth inner traffic flow. In all, the northernmost city is to lay out new green areas and connect them with the existing parks, community gardens and cementeries. Upon completion of the plan Hamburg will pride itself on having over 17,000 acres of green spaces, making up 40% of the city’s area.

According to an official, the ambitious plan will “reduce the need to take the car for weekend outings outside the city”.

The entire city centre is to be linked with its outskirts by an extensive network of pedestrian and cycle lanes
Although vehicles are not to be banned from the main thoroughfares, the council expects residents and tourists alike to be able “to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot.”

At the same time, the green ring will play a crutial role to help the metropolis fight against rising temperatures and urban flooding. The average temperature in Germany’s second-largest city has risen by 9 degrees Celsius in scarcely half a century, experts warn.

As regards to leisure, the interspersed patches of green areas will let residents "hike, swim, do water sports, enjoy picnics and restaurants, experience calm and watch nature and wildlife right in the city”.

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