Bike City Berlin
Two years ago, the Berlin Senate decided that bikes should make up 15% of city traffic by the year 2010. Results released from the newest traffic study of the Berlin Development Administration show that the goal could be reached early: the number of bicyclists has more than doubled in the last decade to 400,000 riders daily, accounting for 12% of total traffic.
Some attribute the gain to habits formed after measures that encouraged bicycling during the 2006 Football (soccer) World Cup. High gas prices undoubtedly also play a part. But a clever investment strategy in biking infrastructure is more likely the primary facilitator of the migration to human powered vehicles.
Measures initiated by the Berlin Senate have doubled the network of demarcated bike lanes on city streets in the past three years. According to the Senator for City Development in Berlin, last year 2.5 million Euros were spent on improving and expanding the Berlin bike paths and bike lanes. The program also targeted improvement of connections between train stations and bike paths,and over 3000 bicycle parking places have been built on 40 stations. Unfortunately, the carrying of a bike on the public transport will continue to require purchase of an extra ticket.
The current situation in Berlin is the envy of many a city: Berliners have access to 620 Km of bike paths, 80 Km of bike lanes in the streets, 70 Km of bus lanes which are also open to bicyclists, 100 Km of combined pedestrian/bike paths and 50 Km of marked bike lanes on the sidewalks. The Berlin Senate Bicycle Traffic Strategy foresees pulling all these routes together into a network with primary routes running from the city center out to the suburbs and two traffic rings by 2016. Park-and-ride facilities will be added at 20 additional U-bahn stations in the coming year.
Additionally, 16 million Euros were invested in expanding intercity bike paths for bicycle tourism. Tourism by bicycle has seen a strong increase according to the German Bicycle Club (ADFC), especially on the route along the former Berlin Wall and for trips on long distance bike paths such as the Berlin-Copenhagen route.
Everyone say it with me: "Ich liebe mein Fahrrad!" (I love my bike!)