Car traffic in Munich has increased for decades. So they built wider and wider roads for him so that he could gain even more weight. Driving in the city has long been very convenient. Now the traffic arteries are increasingly blocked, there is a risk of a heart attack. Incidentally, this does not only apply to the streets: Overcrowded underground and suburban trains, trams and buses show every day that something has to be done in the city. Because Munich is growing: According to forecasts, 1.85 million people will live here by 2040, and experts expect a permanent rush hour during the day from 2030 onwards.
That is why Munich will have its own mobility department in the new year, the new mobility committee in the city council met for the first time this Wednesday. The city hopes from the new authority and the assigned committee in the town hall that improvements can be implemented more quickly and acute problems can be solved. Because so far, several units have been dealt with each decision. And with the new distribution of power in the town hall with a green-red majority, it is to be expected that the long-targeted traffic turnaround will now be tackled with vigor.
Mayor Katrin Habenschaden (Greens) emphasized the importance of the new committee at the beginning of the meeting, which was initially a joint meeting with the planning committee. There is an urgent need for action, she said, regardless of political color. The aim is to make people mobile again, the expansion of local public transport, the implementation of the cycling decision and the redistribution of the street space are very important. In this transformation phase, one must also think of those who cannot do without a car – for example, craftsmen and people who are restricted in their mobility. It is important “that we do not play off modes of transport against each other, but rather discuss the best solutions,” said Habenschaden. One could discuss, “gladly argue, but always focus on the matter”.
And there will be arguments, especially when it comes to the bike decision. As is well known, 90,000 Munich residents signed up for a comprehensive network of wide cycle paths last year, and another 70,000 signed for the so-called Altstadt-Radlring. While the two large parliamentary groups from the Greens / Pink List and SPD / Volt, together with the ÖDP and Free Voters, are pushing ahead with implementation, the conservative opposition around the CSU is primarily concerned about the welfare of motorists.
Because the new direction in transport policy looks like this: The cars should consistently be taken away from space in favor of cycle paths, but also for bus lanes. The new government coalition has stopped the tunnel projects on Tegernseer Landstrasse, Landshuter Allee and Schleißheimer Strasse. The Greens are even very open to a city toll for all motorized vehicles, which the Ifo Institute recently proposed under the name of “anti-traffic jam fee”, while the coalition partner SPD is very open to it because of the social aspects that such a Fee would bring with it, rather skeptical. The CSU only said on the subject that there was no legal basis for it, and Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) let know about the city toll, before thinking about something like that, it had to be ensured that the local public transport was also efficient, which one was intensively looking at work.
The efficient public transport system in Munich is one of those things: this is where questions of faith come together. At the end of last year, the CSU put together a package of applications in which it called for a massive underground expansion, in addition to the initial plans for the new U9, which, however, will not come before the end of the 2030s – just like the U5 in the new one Freiham settlement area. After all, work is already underway on the extension of the U5 to Pasing, the first trains should start rolling here from 2028, incidentally the same year in which the second main S-Bahn line is to be inaugurated.
In the planning department, there are already visions for new underground lines, for example to Solln, Planegg, Germering, Heimstetten, Dachau or Ottobrunn, an underground rail link between Freiham and Moosach and an underground ring closure in the north. But the problem is that the subway can only solve traffic problems in the long term. The expansion of the tram network could bring faster relief, but here the Christian Socials have regularly resisted in the past and, for example, only approved the tram west bypass and the tram through the Englischer Garten after long resistance.
The tram, on the other hand, is a favorite project of the Greens. Last year, for example, they proposed a tram connection from the main train station through Barer Strasse to Münchner Freiheit, three new inner-city crossings in a north-south direction, or a southern tramway from Aidenbachstrasse to Ostbahnhof.
This will be taken care of in the future by the mobility department, for which the Greens have the right to make proposals. So the signs are good for an expansion of the tram. But because this also requires longer planning and construction times, only an expanded and accelerated bus network and better infrastructure for bicycles are possible for very fast solutions. In these two points, drivers in Munich are faced with a painful sacrifice if parking spaces and lanes are eliminated across the city. But in the redistribution of the street space, Green-Red – unlike the CSU – sees the implementation of the will of the voters. One would have expected the first big dispute on Wednesday, when the committee was about to implement the bike decision. But it was postponed to the next full assembly of the city council. Andreas Schuster, spokesman for bicycle politics in the SPD parliamentary group, expects a “heated discussion”. This assessment could be an understatement.