Munich: Resistance to the redesign of the Schwabinger Rheinstraße – Munich

Urban space is limited. The turnaround in mobility away from a car-friendly city towards more bicycle and pedestrian traffic is explosive – to what extent, this can be seen these days on Schwabing’s Rheinstraße.

The stretch between Bonner Platz and Leopoldstrasse is one of the most important East-West connections through Schwabing. So far, cars have been parked close together on both sides, 117 vehicles can be parked at the edges of the road. Space that will largely be given up in future in favor of wider sidewalks, new cycle paths and tree plantings. The municipality plans to implement the demands of the Radentscheid in Rheinstrasse. At the same time, the conflict between pedestrians and cyclists at the Simmern School, which has been criticized for years, could be resolved.

But there is resistance. “The project,” complains a neighbor, “ignores the reality of life for the residents.” There is already a lack of parking spaces in the area, many houses are old buildings that do not have underground garages. There are also protests from business people who fear losing customers if there are no parking spaces. Criticism from residents flared up, especially in the Schwabing-Freimann district committee – which is why the local politicians are in favor of selective planning changes in favor of maintaining parking spaces. Citizens’ representatives also demand that the interests of the doctors and shopkeepers based there should be “appropriately” acknowledged when the room is divided up.

In Westschwabing’s district committee, it is the CSU that points out that “cars don’t just disappear just because there are no parking spaces”. People in need of help in particular would have much more access to their cars or taxis after the conversion. “We are rebuilding it now, but in the future we will have many more old people than young people,” said Jan Kurrus at the most recent meeting.

The mobility department, on the other hand, has calculated “that the parking spaces can be reduced”. Especially since motor vehicle traffic decreased by 23 percent from 2011 to 2019, while bicycle traffic “more than doubled”.

40 new bicycle parking spaces at three junctions

The variant that the mobility department prefers for the 500-meter-long Rheinstraße provides for 26 parking spaces on the south side and at least seven, preferably 23, trees to be planted. How much is ultimately feasible has yet to be determined. In addition, four new delivery zones are to be set up “to enable the supply of local businesses, but also the delivery of private households by parcel services”. The 40 new bicycle parking spaces required by the Radentscheid can also be created at three junctions with this new plan. Because an express line will run through Rheinstraße in the future, two bus stops are also planned.

The majority in the district committees, although open to the concerns of the residents, support the municipal project. “The plan has more advantages than disadvantages and is very balanced,” says Green Party politician Undine Schmidt from Schwabing-West. Her party colleague Florian Schönemann even sees this variant as “a prime example of how the mobility turnaround can be implemented”.

On June 21, the plan is to be presented to the city council’s mobility committee. Then it will be seen whether the changes desired by the Schwabing-Freimann district committee will be taken into account.

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