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#183: Star tour, massive fire, traffic-less blocks
And if you make an appointment, keep it ffs
Hey 20 Percent,
This weekend is what I have always seen as the cutest-named protest in Berlin: The Star Tour, organized by the German bicycle club (ADFC). Cyclists from all over Berlin finally get a chance to cruise along car-less autobahns (presumably also without a speed limit), ultimately meeting at Berlin’s Grosser Stern (big star), also known as the Siegessäule (victory column) for a joint protest on improving biking infrastructure in Berlin.
It’s called the “Star Tour” because, like the zipper merge, it theoretically looks like its namesake from above. If you want to take part, here’s a PDF with routes and starting times.
Or, just get out and ride on that stretch of highway you can usually only drive on. It’s a weird and weirdly freeing experience.
Have a good weekend!
If you like riding your bike on autobahns and appreciate our letting you know about this opportunity, you can toss us a few euros over on our Patreon. We appreciate it. You can also buy a mug for that post-ride coffee!
The cost of protesting in Pankow
Police often have to remove a piece of the street when shooing away Last Generation climate activists and the swanky district of Pankow now wants the activists to pay for the repairs, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall). The cost? €3,000. A temporary fix to get traffic moving again costs about €400 and the final, permanent fix costs another €2,500, Pankow politician Manuela Anders-Granitzki (CDU) told the paper. So far, her district has shelled out €15,000 to repair protest-related damages. Berlin has no unified way to deal with the repairs, so it’s unclear whether other districts will also seek restitution from other protests.
And, hey, speaking of Pankow, the district is moving ahead with plans to create two Kiezblocks, which are supposed to be large blocks of mostly residential neighborhoods closed off to traffic (you know, like in, say, Amsterdam). But here what it really means is creating a series of one-way streets and the occasional post to prevent (mostly taxis) from using your neighborhood as a short-cut from Berliner Allee to Indira-Gandhi-Straße (or other main thoroughfares). The first is planned for the Komponistenviertel neighborhood between the Weisser See lake and the Jewish cemetery, another is planned for the Arnimplatz neighborhood near the Schönhauser Allee U- and S-Bahn station. They should have been in place all over Berlin for years.
The antithesis of Pankow: Neukölln
It was a paper recycling facility run by Berlin’s BSR municipal trash service and Remondis. That’s what burned Wednesday night — the fire department said it was the one that decided to send out a message to nearby cellphones to warn people of the resulting smoke but that ultimately no toxic substances were released by the fire.
Just over 11% of all Bürgeramt appointments for resident services went unused in Berlin in the first three months of 2023, or about 63,000 appointments, according to the Tagesspiegel. That’s still an improvement over the 19% average in 2019 but bureaucrats in our city-state are well off their self-imposed goal of people getting an appointment within two weeks — just 30% of Berliners were able to get an appointment that quickly in the first quarter.