Apparently, a bicycle is all you really need for life in the city.
Last year, we learned that products such as the Tesla Model Y would soon be constructed at the brand's upcoming Gigafactory in Berlin, Germany. Somewhat contradictory to this is an ongoing initiative that aims to get cars off the streets of Berlin altogether. What started as a movement among a group of friends has now developed into a full-scale campaign on which the city's senate will review this March.
Based on information sourced by an interview conducted by The Berliner, Manuel Wiemann, a spokesperson for the Berlin Autofrei initiative, explains that many of the city's population are against the idea of cars and criticize them not only for their tendency to pollute the environment but also for their tendency to take up too much space and negatively impact infrastructure via tire wear. The group also notes how fatal car collisions are a routine occasion for the region.
The campaign has already taken the first steps of the people's referendum process. This consists of submitting a petition with more than 20,000 signatures that call for the ban which will cover 34 sq miles of city space encompassed by the S-Bahn train ring. Berlin Autofrei notes that 50,333 signatures were secured. Of course, there will be exceptions for people who depend on cars for impaired mobility and emergency services.
Locals that wish to make use of a car in the city, for reasons such as moving house or going on vacation to locations that can't be reached with public transport, will be permitted to rent a car up to six times a year. Initially, this was set at 12 with users being required to provide a valid reason but the draft now proposes that motivation is no longer required. Due to this alteration, the review of the law was postponed from January 5 to March 7.
Once the Senate deems the law constitutional, it will have four months to decide on whether it should be passed. Berlin Autofrei says that it anticipates it will be shot down, in which case it will have three months to prepare a referendum. The activists will also be required to collect 175,000 signatures in four months. Seven percent of those who are entitled to vote in the House of Representatives in Berlin must place their signatures as well.
In 2014, a report conducted by Berlin's regional parliament discovered that 58 percent of the city's traffic space was taken up by cars despite only a third of commutes in the city being made by cars. Furthermore, the report revealed that cars parked in the city take up 6.6 sq miles which are 20 times more than the parking space bicycles are allocated.