Friday, June 24, 2016

How you celebrate the invention of the bicycle?

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Mannheim will celebrate 200 years of cycling next year. One of the suggestions made to celebrate this is that downtown Mannheim should be car free for the weekend of 11 and 12 June. This idea was suggested by the Green Party and is backed by the SPD, the German centre-left party. The reaction of the local shopkeepers could be summed up in the phrase, "Are you off your trolley?". The centre-right CDU suggested a car free Sunday. The Greens want a car free weekend and the shopkeepers pointed out with some force that 60 or so % of their turnover for the week is on Saturdays. Eighty % of the customers come from the Umland, from the region. Most of these come by car. Some shop keepers have responded by threatening to close their shops on the Saturday. One suggestion is that the roads leading to the multistorey carparks should be kept open, which does not find favour with the Greens. I personally am not that worried about a car free day, especially as trams and buses would be running normally. I do wonder what all the fuss is about. I don't think a car free day will encourage people to cycle thirty or so km into Mannheim.

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