In yesterdays’ (March 23rd) session of Ortsbeirat 3 multiple items concerning Oeder Weg were on the agenda, and we are very happy that the Ortsbeirat decided to keep going with the redesign. Our verdict regarding the measures we have detailed elsewhere, the long and short if it is: we are very happy, but in the long term the new design has to be made permanent.
In the January session of the Ortsbeirat, researchers from Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences presented initial findings of their studies regarding Oeder Weg. According to them, the overwhelming majority of people – 84%! – use Oeder Weg mainly on foot or on a bicycle. People are using the street as often as before the redesign – so it can’t be as bad as opponents of the new street often make it out to be.
The redesigned intersection of Oeder Weg and Holzhausenstraße (blocking car through-traffic while letting pedestrians and cyclists through) is the most controversial part of the redesign, but even that is generally regarded well: livability, congestion and traffic safety have all improved immensely according to the people surveyed. Ease of access and parking for cars is generally regarded as worse now, but the margin between positive and negative ratings is much closer than with other categories. We think: even if Oeder Weg is now marginally harder to reach for car drivers – the huge increase in safety and livability more than make up for it. Still far too many pedestrians and cyclists are injured in traffic.
Some stores report lost revenue, but local businesses are under pressure from many angles: the pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation, online stores – just look at the closure of Conrad on Zeil and the discussion around Karstadt/Galeria. So it is far too simple to blame issues on Oeder Weg on the redesign (especially considering the measures specifically for local businesses such as dedicated parking spaces for deliveries). In comparable redesigns revenue stayed about the same or even increased – a current example are the 10 streets made car-free during the summer in Montral, Canada.
The ideas presented in the Ortsbeirat for the intersections of Cronstettenstraße/Falkensteiner Straße and Falkensteiner Straße/Humbrachtstraße show how much space can be created for people: to sit, to talk, to play. The redesigned intersection on Oeder Weg also has a lot of potential for improvement to provide a true meeting point for the Nordend.
Currently many groups are discussing Oeder Weg. We are seeing panic, emotions, self-serving interests, and conservative ideology. But fear and emotions are seldom good advisors. The truth is: redesigns such as the one on Oeder Weg benefit all citizens of Frankfurt – better air quality, more green, higher livability, less noise. We demand of our politicians: don’t be afraid. In the Ortsbeirat, people living on and around Oeder Weg spoke up – they had collected 500 signatures in just a few days in favor of the redesign! Frankfurt is ready for a true mobility transition.