#192: Rave cancelled? Bike lane wars. Rammstein reprisal. Music.
Commuters to blame for all the traffic.
Dear 20% Berlin,
For years, decades, Berliners have poked fun at the Bavarians. Beer, crosses on classroom walls, BMWs. A bunch of yokels in Lederhosen. Berlin, on the other hand, was a beacon of progressive, eco-friendly ways of living.
Well, maybe they’re not all the troglodytes we hold them to be and we’re not the poster children for sustainable, human-friendly urban life after all. Two Bavarian cities, first Augsburg and now Erlangen, say they’re making public transport free-of-charge to reduce the number of cars in city centres.
And what have we done? Elected a government hell-bent on making life easier for Brandenburg and outer-borough car commuters. Interesting stats on the matter in today’s factoid.
Sorry, this edition is a little transport-heavy. Seems to be the issue of the hour, though.
P.S. Happy Fourth of July to all you US-Amerikaner out there who still care about such things. And while we’re on the topic of independence: keep this indie medium going with a few bucks over at Patreon or by visiting this issue’s sponsor, Ironhack!
Bike lane wars I
The new government isn’t just putting most bike lane projects on ice — it’s putting its money where its mouth is. According to RBB, the finance department, headed by CDU guy Stefan Evers, wants to cut spending on bike lane construction and upgrades by 40-60% over the next two years. The previous short-lived government had planned to spend €15m in ‘24 and €22m in ‘25 on cycle path construction or upgrading — this could fall to €9m per year. Berlin’s cyclists aren’t happy: between 8,000 (say the cops) and 15,000 (say organizers) took to the streets for a cycle demo on Sunday.
Bike lane wars II
The anti-bike turn hasn’t escaped international attention. Dutch city-planner Martin Aarts chimed in: “Internationally, this German automania is completely isolated.” Food delivery firm Wolt, which relies on bikes, is also unimpressed: “We are watching the planned halt to bike path projects with great concern. Ideas about halting planning or the crude idea of releasing bike lanes for temporary parking endanger not only bike lanes, which have long since become important for commercial traffic in the city, but above all the lives of Wolt employees.” And this just in: the police report that a 63-year-old cyclist was killed Monday by a truck turning right in to a parking lot in Marienfelde. 😢😢😢
Save the rave
Outdoor techno fest and Love Parade successor Rave the Planet, planned for this coming Saturday, might have to be cancelled, organisers said, because it says charity Malteser cancelled its commitment to provide first aid services last minute. Malteser, a Catholic charity that offers medical and care services, said there’d never been an official contract for the event, not even a verbal agreement. No first aid on site, no rave. Three hundred thousand people are/were expected to attend.
The band’s HQ in Reinickendorf seems to have been targetted by left-wing activists last week. They broke some windows and sprayed grafitti reading: “No stage for perpetrators”. The attack was first announced on left-wing site Kontrapolis. Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann is under investigation for allegedly coercing female fans into having sex with him backstage, and possibly using date rape drugs to sedate victims.
3 x music
Pure and Crafted Festival (confusing German website!), all about music and motorcycles, takes place in Friedrichshain this weekend. But maybe you didn’t move to Berlin for that kind of thing. You moved here for experimental music by female artists! As found at the Heroines of Sound, running through Sunday at Radialsystem, and this year focussed on heavy and/or quirky guitar sounds. For grooves of a different nature, Jazz Week runs through Friday, at venues across the city (another bad website!)
A government study published last week found that the number of trips by car are slightly below the number in 1991. Car trips between two points within Berlin’s city limits dropped even further to 78% of the figure in 1991. When looking at the total number of movements within the city by any method, only 24% of trips within the city were with “individualised motor vehicles” in 2018. The rest were by bike, by foot or with public transport.
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