#188: Berlin vs. Bezos, bike lane wars, chaos train, Special Olympics
More dead fish
Dear 20 Percent,
It’s my birthday and I’m feeling sloth-like, so I’m cranking this out before I head out to a lake.
Some news shaking me out of my sluggish state is Mayor Kai Wegner’s administration’s decision to suspend cycle lane construction projects that could threaten at least one parking space across the city. I’m a cyclist and I’m guessing many of you are too — I thought the city was finally getting its act together when it came to keeping us safer on these car-plagued streets.
Tagesspiegel contacted each district to see which projects were affected and they include major arteries such as cyclist-nightmare Sonnenallee in Neukölln and the woefully narrow Schönhauser Allee bike paths in Prenzlauer Berg and even the car-clogged Beusselstraße in Moabit. The Green party in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has already proposed ignoring the instructions from up high and wants to push on with lane building. Activists are pissed. Let the bike-lane wars begin.
Soon I’ll be using my bike myself to get to that lake.
P.S. Thanks to our awesome sponsor: English-friendly, eco-utility, Ostrom.
Sunday evening at around 5.45pm a RE2 regional express carrying 1,200 passengers halted on the tracks outside of Berlin — due to brake problems. A Tagesspiegel journalist who happened to be on board describes chaotic scenes in the overcrowded, overheated train. The air-conditioning is down. A woman grabs one of those emergency hammers and smashes a window. Two soldiers in uniform pry open the doors, people pour out onto the tracks. The police, ambulances and fire trucks show up and begin evacuation. It takes two hours. People have to trudge through the forest to Wuhlheide S-Bahn station. Just another day with Deutsche Bahn. Memo to self: avoid inbound Regional Express trains on Sunday evenings.
I think I smelled them on Sunday — the dead fish. I was walking along Landwehrkanal towards the flea market when an unspeakable odour assaulted my nostrils. Apparently, hundreds of fish were killed (2.5 tonnes were removed from the water) when sewers overflowed following heavy rains on Saturday. “During heavy rains, the water overflows and the chemical-rich water poisons fish and other creatures,” explained NGO Naturschutzbund. The city is building a series of underground rainwater basins to prevent overflow into waterways and says they’ll be finished by 2030.
Activists opposed to the giant Amazon Tower in Friedrichshain made a very nice deep fake protest video. It made my (birth)day. Here are a few gems followed by the video itself:
“I’ve waited for millenia in the shadows of Berghain, and wasn’t let in, despite my kink-ware.”
“Life is too short to be an asshole. Amazon has to change its ways.”
“I’m going to accept Berlin vs. Amazon’s 14 demands for workers, the community and the planet.”
Free culture and fun
Wednesday is the summer solstice, meaning it’s Fete de la musique. Free live music. Everywhere. The info.
Around 7,000 athletes are in the city for the Special Olympics World Games. Through June 25, 190 delegations from around the world will be competing in 26 sports, from Badminton to Volleyball. On Monday, 197 cyclists took part in a 5,000m contest along Straße des 17. Juni in Tiergarten.
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