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#181: The Paternoster, Friedrichstraße (again), Organized environmental crime
And we are actually building lots of new flats
Hey 20 Percent!
Are we still talking about a portion of Friedrichstraße being closed to cars? Yes, we are. Unfortunately. Because our new, conservative-led government will re-open the stretch between Leipziger and Französische July 1, writes Tagesspiegel. Politicians now want to have a big discussion with residents and businesses of the stretch to develop a concept for the future.
Please don’t. It’s a dumb stretch of road that deserves to be forgotten, like much of Steglitz. It’s not worth the argument. I am 100% in favor of closing streets to cars and am furious that at least a dozen aren’t already verboten for our four-wheeled friends. But that stretch is not one of them because nothing can happen there — because nothing happens there. Neither side can win the pro- or anti-car argument there.
They should instead close an equivalent stretch of Friedrichstraße on the other side from Unter den Linden to the Spree and watch life explode. Dussmann could hold readings on the closed street, restaurants could create expansive beer gardens and I’d organize and evening of comedy and currywurst at that organic sausage stall under the S-Bahn bridge. The anti-car side would easily win that argument and we’d stop talking about an inane stretch of asphalt. And we’d finally have another pedestrian zone.
But we’ll all benefit from at least one road closure this weekend — the closures for the Karneval der Kulturen. Berlin has always been good at street parties.
Man dies in Paternoster
Well, it finally happened — the first thing you thought when you saw a Paternoster elevator — an “older” man died Thursday in an accident while riding a Paternoster in a building near Wittenbergplatz. Although details are scarce, RBB24 said he became entangled in the drive wheels. For those of you who have never seen one, Paternoster are a form of never-ending elevator that resemble a ferris wheel operating within a building. The cabins go up and down all day long in a loop and you step on and off at will, hopefully timing it right to get to the floor you’re going to. About 250 still exist in Germany, though it’s illegal to install them in new construction. None are open to the public in Berlin.
The Last Generation and Al Capone
The polarizing Last Generation climate activist group Friday said it would protest rather than block major roadways in its never-ending quest to get the government to do more against climate change, according to the Morgenpost. 15 members of the protest group were the subject of nationwide police raids Wednesday, leading to the demonstration. Prosecutors in Bavaria and Brandenburg argue the group is a criminal gang because its sole purpose is to break laws — if courts agree, police could get new tools to combat the protests. The strategic prosecutorial move was invented in the US to bring down notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. Today’s protest will begin at 5pm at Frankfurter Tor.
The one thing Berlin is not known for is professional sports, which many would say is a positive. And nowhere is that more apparent than with the city’s once-defacto pro football club, Hertha BSC. The club put in such a miserable performance this year that it will next year drop to the less-prestigious secondary league (2. Bundesliga). It’s even scrambling for financing to get a license to play in that subordinate league. But city officials told Tagesspiegel they are pressing forward with plans to build the struggling team a new stadium on the former Olympic grounds in Charlottenburg anyway — their home field is currently the Olympiastadion with capacity for nearly 75,000 fans (they rarely sell out).
Last year 17,310 new residential units were completed in Berlin, 9.1% more than in 2021 and ending a two-year decline in new construction, according to the Berlin-Brandenburg statistics office.
Break it down for me, DJ:
14,393 new flats were created in new apartment buildings
975 were built in row houses and single-family homes (a decline of 22.1% over 2021)
1,906 of the new living spaces were created in existing buildings (swanky rooftop flats, for example).
The city-state government is hoping for 20,000 new units per year
This is the end, my friend. And to reward you for reading this far we’d like to offer you a free subscription. If you already subscribe, please know that that makes you a better Berliner.