Friday, September 01, 2017

Reducing air pollution in city centres. Finding room for cycle ways in cities.

Mannheim like many German, nay, European cities is looking to the bicycle as a way to reduce air pollution levels. The idea is to reduce the number of not only diesel powered vehicles on the road in the city centre. New cycle ways are planned, both in city streets and as bike-bahns, bicycle super highways. There are a number of new cycle ways in Mannheim and those that are in city streets take up room that could be utilised by motor traffic, shock horror! Opposition to these measures normally fall in to two classes, either suggesting a different, more inconvenient route along quieter city streets running parallel to a direct route or the end of civilization as we know it argument, that the measures will make shopping in the city centre so inconvenient, that customers will go elsewhere. The latter argument falls down when one notices that many people, us two for example, use public transport to visit the city to buy clothing and outdoor gear. If we decided to buy furniture or white goods - fridge or washing machine we'd have it delivered.
The one thing that most of the petrol heads miss is that although they might be slightly delayed driving their status symbol into Mannheim to find a parking spot or coughing up the tram fare to park the beast, there will be 10 or 15% fewer cars on the road. This will mean the delay will be less. In view of the air quality in cities all the world, there are going be restrictions on the use of cars and we all might as well get used to them.

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