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Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung, 2024/05/29
Reading time 2:00 minutes

“We don’t just want to push back the cars”

An event with Transport Minister Winfried Hermann at the Central Filmtheater cinema on Monday focussed on sustainable mobility. Hermann’s advice for the transition in transportation is to take a more relaxed view.

Transport Minister Winfried Hermann during his flying visit to the Central Filmtheater cinema.
Transport Minister Winfried Hermann is not to be envied. According to the official target of the green-black coalition in Baden-Wuerttemberg, emissions in the transport sector are to be reduced by 55 per cent by 2030. “This will only be possible if every second car is emission-free by then, every second journey is made by walking or by bike and we have twice as many passengers on public transport,” said Hermann on Monday evening in the well-attended Central Filmtheater cinema. Silke Gericke, member of the Landtag (Greens), has invited to the information event, the Minister of Transport will discuss sustainable mobility with the Mayor of Ludwigsburg, Sebastian Mannl, Christian Schneider, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Ludwigsburg-Kornwestheim (SWLB), and Dirk Zedler, Managing Director of the Ludwigsburg-based Zedler Institute for Bicycle Technology and Safety.
 
Indeed, the transition in transportation is meeting with massive resistance. Hermann’s advice is to be more relaxed. The switch from horses to cars, for example, was a much bigger change for people at the end of the 19th century than the current challenges. “I sometimes have the impression that our ancestors were more innovative than we are,” says the Transport Minister. “We have made ourselves comfortable. But the world does not stay as it is.”
 
Hermann emphasizes: “We, the Greens, do not just want to push back the cars.” Instead, it is more about improving the quality of life by upgrading town and city centres. “This requires more greenery and places that invite to stay.”
 
Bicycle expert Zedler agrees. “But people are afraid that certain areas of the city will only be accessible to cyclists and pedestrians.” Yet there is not a single example in the whole of Europe where the designation of a pedestrian zone has had a negative impact on the retail sector. In discussions with Ludwigsburg tradespeople and restaurateurs, he tried to allay such concerns. Zedler: “After all, nobody would wish for a return to the days when Ludwigsburg's market square was full of cars.”
 
SWLB Managing Director Schneider has high hopes for the parking deck currently being built on the Schillerviertel multi-storey car park, which will offer 700 modern bicycle parking spaces by next year. Such services in the immediate vicinity of the city centre are important to link cycling better with other modes of transport such as buses and trains.
 
Mayor Mannl points out that the expansion of infrastructure, such as a new cycle path, is in general a challenge in practice. Linking cycling and the railway station, as mentioned by Schneider, also plays an important role in determining the route for the planned high-speed cycle path from Bietigheim-Bissingen to Ludwigsburg. In order to master the challenges in the transport sector, the mayor believes that there is the need for “a kind of social contract”.
 
Moderator Gericke asks whether parking in Ludwigsburg is too cheap. First of all, it has to be about guiding drivers into the car parks, answers Mannl. This alone requires “changes in behaviour, because everyone wants to go to Rathausgarage”. Parking in a multi-storey car park should not be more expensive than parking the vehicle outside in a public car park.
 
According to Mannl, resident parking, on the other hand, should be more expensive. It is currently charged with an annual fee of 120 euros. According to the mayor, this is enough to cover the ongoing cleaning costs. However, the vehicle owners occupy the public space whereas the local authority has no rental income. “For this reason resident parking is too cheap. It should actually cost 250 to 400 euros.”
 
The answer of moderator Silke Gericke: “This will certainly lead to exciting discussions in the Ludwigsburg municipal council.”
 
Author: Frank Klein
Photo: Holm Wolschendorf