Conflict inevitable: Will the S-Bahn dispute with Riehen escalate on Wednesday?

At the Wiesental Conference, the Riehen municipal council will meet its German colleagues for the first time since the announcement of resistance to the expansion of the double-track system.

Will there soon be a double lane through the village center? When it comes to Riehen, the route remains nostalgic – as here on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Wiesentalbahn.

Martin Toengi (23. September 20212)

Riehen will defend itself with all means against the planned expansion of the double lane through the village center by the German side, announced two weeks ago mayor Hansjörg Wilde (independent) and the local councilor Daniel Hettich (LDP) responsible for mobility. If necessary, legal steps will also be examined. The message was unmistakable: Riehen absolutely wants to prevent the double-lane expansion through the village center for every quarter of an hour – no matter what the cost.

With this, the Riehen municipal council went on a course of confrontation with its colleagues in the Wiesental. Daniel Hettich will represent Riehen’s interests at the Wiesental Conference on Wednesday. In the days after the Riehen municipal council rushed ahead, he also felt understanding from the German side, reveals Hansjörg Wilde. But there were also critical voices, admits the mayor. In the media and by politicians, Riehen was accused of cherry-picking. Wilde takes this accusation calmly.

«The local council must look first and foremost for the interests of Riehen. If this is portrayed as cherry-picking, I can live with it. “

Is the municipal council acting diplomatically inappropriately?

According to the Riehen municipal council, the German side, which owns the route, would benefit from a quarter of an hour. Their population can easily get to work in Basel by train. In Riehen, relatively few people use the S-Bahn.

This thinking falls short for Heinrich Ueberwasser. The SVP politician from Riehen is currently still in the local parliament and has been involved for years as Basel Grand Councilor and President of the District Council of the Trinational Eurodistrict Basel for cross-border cooperation in the Basel area. The cherry picker accusation against Riehen and the assertion made by the German side that it was a purely Swiss problem show that it is “five to twelve”. Ueberwasser criticizes the Riehen municipal council acting too late and diplomatically inept. «Legal disputes are only the last resort. He could and should have intervened much earlier. “

FDP launches petition

In place of the confrontation, Ueberwasser suggests a round table – a think tank – which, according to his own statement, he wants to lead based on his legal experience in cross-border projects. The round table is not intended to compete with the Wiesental Conference, but rather to forge ideas for the success of the quarter-hour cycle. “The fan must be opened in terms of personnel and ideas,” urges Ueberwasser.

«I want to go back to a positive spirit of optimism in trinational cooperation. The lowering of the double track between Lörrach and Basel is a project of the century and in terms of rail technology it is essential for the entire Wiesental valley and the Basel rail hub. “

On Tuesday, the FDP Riehen-Bettingen launched a petition for the Basel building and transport department and the Federal Office of Transport. In it, the party, like Heinrich Ueberwasser, calls for tunneling under the Riehen village center instead of expanding the double lane. Mayor Hansjörg Wilde himself takes the Basel building and traffic director Esther Keller (GLP) to duty and demands a tangible commitment to the interests of Riehen.

“She is clearly responsible for that. So far she has been covered. That needs to change.”

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