City of Berlin set to pass Germany’s first pedestrian law
rbb / Tagesspiegel
Germany’s capital Berlin is about to take another step in the mobility transition with the country’s first pedestrian law, reports regional public broadcaster rbb. The regional parliament is set to vote on the law today (28 January), which will elevate the status of pedestrians vis-à-vis other modes of transport, as well as make the system more wheelchair-accessible and easier to navigate for the blind. Traffic light phases for pedestrians will be extended, the city government can assume responsibility for speeding up lagging pedestrian projects in individual districts, and the way to schools will be made safer for students. “Walking is the most environmentally friendly way to move around the city,” said Berlin transport senator Regine Günther according to a report in Tagesspiegel. For the first time, a German state put pedestrian traffic regulation on a legislative footing, giving “pedestrian traffic a whole new status”, she added.
The pedestrian law is part of Berlin’s larger mobility legislation package. The city had dragged its heels on the energy transition for years, but the government has recently set new climate targets. However, the coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on the transition to sustainable urban mobility around the world. While the fear of infection has put people off public transport and vehicle sharing schemes, it has boosted private cars, but also cycling and walking.