German city to banish cars completely within 20 years

Motorists still don't know how SMART motorways work
16 Jan, 2014 11:36am Jonathan Burn

Hamburg plans to develop a cycle, pedestrian and public transport infrastructure by 2034, calling into question the future of the car

Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, has made initial plans that will eventually eliminate the need for a car around the city within the next 20 years. As part of the ‘Green Network Plan’, a pedestrian, cyclist and public transport only infrastructure will be developed around the city.

The plan runs rather contrary to Germany’s famous history with the automobile. Manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi currently fly the flag for the German motoring industry but it appears their products will be surplus to requirements in Hamburg in the near future.

Almost 40 per cent of Hamburg is made up of green areas and parks. The plan is to connect these areas with cycle routes and walkways, enabling people to explore most of the city without the need for a car.

Speaking to The Guardian, city spokesman Angelika Fritsch said: “Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot.”

Along with the development of these car-free zones, the city will also construct more green spaces to help absorb CO2 and regulate the city’s climate.

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"“It will offer people opportunities to hike, swim, do water sports, enjoy picnics, restaurants, experience calms and watch nature right in the city."

What about people who aren't on holiday 24/7 and are trying to exist and earn a living in the real world?

I hope they wont do this in London or any major cities in UK, for starters isnt good idea in London, seen how big London is ? that by foot really isnt option unless you you have all time in the world & the state of public transport ? cancelled, delayed buses/trains when they do turn up its full no capacity & in cases of the bus it wont stop, this happened in my town that isnt anywhere near half busy as London ! Did i mention cost of public transport ? i say no more ! unless Hmaburg has a excellent modern AND safe public transport that isnt rip off prices then it 'may' work !

A further example of how politicians are so out of touch with real life. What about disabled people or those who don't have the ability to walk far or the poor who can't afford public transport for every single trip ? How do you get a big weekly shop from the supermarket home without a car ?

Welcome to the new dark ages. Hamburg is arguably the most crime infested city in Germany and possibly in Europe. So dear future visitors, be sure politicians will not move their finger about it so keep your wallets save while using the public transport. I hope this "great idea" will die peacefully !!

Public transport is cheaper than car ownership.

Really ? Even if you run an older car, that hardly depreciates, and is low cost to insure and run ?

Totally agreed with your last point.

Not on a per hour basis it isn't (public transport that is)

I think what the Hamburg council/German government are doing with Hamburg is absolutely brilliant

For the first time in a long time, you'll be able to explore the city without breathing in all that gunk produced from public and personal transport, which is a good thing by any measure, by the way

Oh, and another thing to point out (to all you bog-brained posters), this is one of Europe's big cities, so there will be lots of infrastructure to support the disabled and handicapped and by the mid 2030's there'll no doubt be a good few electric compact commuter vehicles to help disabled people get around places, and this won't just apply to Hamburg but quite a lot of the major euro cities I'd imagine

And about all of your beloved grocery shopping, just get off your lazy buttacko's, walk the walk, and get on with it! nuff said (regarding the shopping)

As much as this would annoy you commenting folk, Germany is just so far ahead of the uk in so many ways it's actually kind of funny

Along with the fact they are doing the most well in europe goes to show just how effective and decent they're strategies are when it comes to planning and putting things into action

They are doers, and they get things done

If this country elected me, I would change everything dramatically


You know, somehow I can't see these green politicians getting away with that. How important is the motor industry to the German economy? I can't see VW-Audi, Mercedes or BMW remaining stumm on this one..;

Do they honestly think that banning cars will "regulate the city's climate"? Does Hamburg exist in a sealed bubble, cut off from the rest of Earth's atmosphere? Utter nonsense.

They forgotten few important factors lol, such as lorries/vans/trucks etc that is important for businesses & banks ! you cant exactly bring construction/building tools/supplies/equipment on public transport due to size and importantly health & safety reasons, remember when London introduced congestion charges, many these commercial van/lorries weren't happy ! seems like there is a few 'short comings' of this plan !

"How do you get a big weekly shop from the supermarket home without a car ?"

In the same way as our grandparents got their shopping home without a car?

Or in the same way as people without a car get their shopping home?

Why should it affect the motor industry?

I almost always use public transport if going into the city centre these days. But I still own a BMW.

Perhaps there'll be an exemption for delivery of essential supplies or construction vehicles?

Perhaps they'll be allowed to use the bus-only roads?

Perhaps electrically powered commercial vehicles will be developed?

I once met a lorry that wasn't happy with the congestion charge. I was surprised to find that lorries have emotions, but I can't say that unhappy lorries bother me.

But do you live in the city centre? Would you happily give up your BMW to continue living in the city centre? Would you move out of the centre and keep the BMW? Would you still live in the city centre but pay to have your car stored somewhere on the outskirts?