Maybe it’s just my imagination, but Munich in the past year or so seems to have become a lot more impatient in its wait for the city’s transformation into a more sustainable place to live. From the ‘save the bees’ vote (which the bees won, I’m happy to say) to the regular FridaysForFuture gatherings at Marienplatz, it is clear that Münchners want a greener, more sustainable city. The current big initiative is the Radentscheid: the bicycle referendum.
In a recent interview with me for a magazine article about how sustainable Munich is, Fabian Norden, a political advisor to Green politician Markus Büchler, told me that Munich has a ‘bike usage’ of around ‘18 per cent’. It’s below smaller cities with lower populations, he noted, such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen. But, ‘It’s up near the top for a city of more than one million people.’
As the Radentscheid indicates, however, with all we know about climate change, and our experience of trying to bike along streets packed with cars and other motorised vehicles, much more needs to be done to make the Bavarian capital more enticing to potential bike riders.
The aim is to radically transform cycling in Munich in a number of ways: creating ‘safer, wider and more convenient cycling paths’, for example; and a ‘city-wide, continuous and dense cycling network’. Clearly, claims that Munich is already a bicycle capital (German) is wide of the mark, something the referendum is aiming to help change.
Check out the Radentscheid München (English) website to find out more, including where to sign the referendum.
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