Kim reports from Freiburg

Freiburg : wide and widening cycle lanes

This story is part of our youReport series.

Freiburg, in Germany, is something of a legend for sustainable living. Wikipedia tells us it’s got a a population of about 230,000 people and that the city is well known for “its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices”. Kim tells us more:

Still sorting through photos, I have 1,200 of them!

Key thing is that car parking is heavily restricted, there is very little on-street parking, most car parks are underground and there is no free car parking in town centres. Integrated thinking and planning. In the UK our local authorities (and national government for that matter) want to ignore the problem of air pollution and are reluctant to publish monitoring data. In Freiburg they are facing up to it and being completely open about monitoring data, showing that there is a reason for restricting motor traffic. [We agree with Kim that air quality isn’t dealt with adequately in the UK. We reported on Newcastle’s air pollution here and will report back to you on Acorn Road air monitor results soon.]

Photos below, just taken outside the old part of town. How about “our roads are to narrow for separated cycle lanes” – no they’re not, just take space off the cars. Things to note:
a) just about every on road cycle lane I saw in all four countries was marked with a solid white line (I didn’t see a single vehicle parked in an on-road cycle lane)
b) you can see where an old lane has been taken out, it was 1.5m wide (that is the width of narrowest on-road cycle lane I saw).

The other thing to mention is speed limits, another thing I noticed is that 50 km/h speed limits are getting rare in built up area, mostly they are 40 km/h or 30 km/h (from memory that cycle lane was on a road with a 30 km/h limit), in residential areas 20 km/h speed limits are becoming more common. So I find it amusing that I have been described as “radical” for suggesting that the statutory 30 mph limit should be replaced statutory 20 mph limit in built up area in Scotland [Kim’s from Edinburgh ed.], when you look at the European mainland is moving to 20 km/h speed limits in place where people live. I can imaging the response if I were to suggest that our current 20 mph zones be replaced with 12 mph zones…

Freiburg @kim_harding
Photo 1 – people cycling, going about their business

Freiburg @kim_harding
Photo 2 – widened cycle lane on 20mph road

Freiburg @kim_harding
Photo 3 – air quality monitor