This summer the German capital will roll out a controversial trial abolishing almost all parking spaces in the Gräfekiez neighbourhood Wide roads in Berlin make cycling popular and relatively safe. any visitors to Gräfekiez, a lively cobbled-road neighbourhood just south of Berlin’s centre, come in search of something new: a tattoo from an authentic Japanese parlour, a rare print from an off-grid gallery, a dive-bar encounter over a 4am beer.
This summer, they can brace themselves for another novelty: for at least three months, local authorities are planning to scrap almost all of the neighbourhood’s parking spaces as part of a social experiment designed to chart the waters of the German capital’s car-free future.
Exactly how long the trial will last, how many of the neighbourhood’s roads it will include, and whether the vacant parking spaces will be filled with ping-pong tables, plant pots or dining tables instead, the council will not reveal until after Sunday’s Berlin state elections, a repeat of the September 2021 vote that was marred by delays and logistical errors.
The decision to hold back information may well be politically motivated: the business of getting from A to B has become the subject of a bitter culture war between car lovers and car haters in the runup to the vote. And Berlin’s experimental approach to ushering out the age of the automobile isn’t only alienating petrolheads.
The metropolis on the river Spree used to be feted for its public transport links, its densely woven web of underground and overground […]
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