Katja reports from “Harz und Heide”

Braunschweig : Contraflows

This story is part of our youReport series.

The city of Braunschweig, Lower Saxon in northern Germany, with its 250,000 resident sits comfortably mid-field in the 2012 Fahrradklima-Test (cycling barometer) – the German cycle city ranking.

It struck me when I moved to the UK how much we allow roads to be overpowered by car use. In my home town Braunschweig (Brunswick) in northern Germany roads appear to have more of a purpose and inner-city roads seem be split into two types:

roads for cars (vehicle movement) and these will have bicycle provision on them, cycle paths and pedestrians footways
roads for people with secondary purpose car access, bikes share on the road, speed limit 20mph (30kmh) and a footway for pedestrians

To achieve this filtering-out and categorisation, my home town prides itself in having made use of reducing car access by allowing cycle contraflows through one-way streets and marking open dead-ends. Creating a new one-way street frees up space which can then be used for a cycle contraflow. Of course, retrofitting a contraflow is possible too. We recently again asked Newcastle council to seriously look at installing contraflows, especially as the Department for Transport in 2011 has significantly reduced bureaucratic requirements. When asked, the council do not even know where the city’s one-way streets are. Ouch. Gateshead has gone some way with allowing contraflows, and must be congratulated but just like Newcastle has a long way to go creating safe routes on main roads.

Here are some examples from in and around Braunschweig.

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 02
Photo 1 – Contraflow, entry point, warning for drivers that cyclists can be expected

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 01
Photo 2 – Contraflow, entry point, warning for drivers that cyclists can be expected

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 03
Photo 3 – Contraflow, double entry point, warning for drivers that cyclists can be expected

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 04a
Photo 4 – Contraflow, cycle entry point

And then once you’ve spotted one, they are EVRYWHERE.

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 06
Photo 5 – Contraflow, cycle entry point

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 07
Photo 6 – Contraflow, cycle entry point

Filtered Permeability One-way contraflow 05
Photo 7 – Contraflow, cycle entry point

Filtered Permeability open-end
Photo 8 – Open dead-end

Filtered Permeability open-end
Photo 9 – Open dead-end

The local cycle group in Braunschweig curates a spatial representation of contraflows in my hometown – maybe something we c/should do too?


Einbahnstraßen auf einer größeren Karte anzeigen