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The new cycle network in Berlin will turn the city into a two wheel paradise

Berlin unveils plan for 3000-kilometre bicycle traffic network

Berlin unveils plan for 3000-kilometre bicycle traffic network

The Radverkehrplan builds upon the past 30 years of experience in bicycle traffic while offering a comprehensive and cohesive vision for the future of the city

On 7 September, Berlin announced the Radverkehrplan – a new framework calling for the redevelopment and construction of a 3000-kilometre bicycle traffic network, transforming the city into a cyclists’ paradise. The new plan sets the goals of the city’s bicycle expansion strategy, outlining the key priorities as well as parameters, guidelines and rationale for further growth.

Regine Günther, Senator for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, presented the Radverkehrplan in front of the Council of Mayors (Der Rat der Bürgermeister). The Council is a body consisting of all 12 district mayors in Berlin and according to them, the plan should be implemented as soon as possible. 

The new Radverkehrplan builds upon the previous 2013 bicycle traffic strategy, while also providing an exciting glimpse into the possible future of Berlin.

Connecting the dots and making a cohesive network

The newly developed cycle traffic network calls for an overhaul of much of the existing bicycle infrastructure, in place since the 1990s. Though, potentially disruptive to the flow of goods and people along the old established routes, a newly designed network has the potential to offer better conditions.

This is mainly because of the last 30 years of experience, knowing what works and what does not when it comes to cycling. At the same time, it allows for a unified cycling network that is big enough to handle the expected uptick in traffic and, most importantly, provides useful routes across the city linking businesses, leisure, residential and shopping areas.

The first priorities are the big city-wide connections accounting for 865 kilometres. Local authorities plan an expansion of these routes to a standard width of 2.50 metres, without the boundary lanes. Second, the main routes will link to a supplementary network with a length of 1506 kilometres, where the standard width will be between 2 and 2.30 metres.

In addition, the city announced that it will widen a further 550 kilometres of cycle paths on main roads, not directly part of the cycle traffic network to a width of 2 to 2.30 metres. And lastly, they plan 100 kilometres of rapid cycle connections, bypassing certain jammed areas, allowing for a strategic reduction of the overflow.

Expanding towards the future

Berlin envisions serious growth in bicycle traffic in the coming years and, under the new Radverkehrplan, all infrastructure proposals and redevelopments should come with certain supporting infrastructure like bicycle parking.

In total, the German Capital plans to redevelop and create a 3000-kilometre cycling network, twice as big as the current one and with significantly higher quality. According to the city, the new framework provides some standardised guidelines; however, it also allows for flexibility, when it comes to refining the finer details of the network.

Senator Günther was quoted in a press release, saying: “With the new cycle traffic plan, Berlin will become a cycling city in the coming years with a quality level that is unique in Germany. With its commitment to high standards and a dense network, the cycling plan is an important prerequisite for systematically promoting the expansion of the cycling infrastructure and building resilient cycling infrastructure in Berlin.”

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