In the mood for mobility
When people choose to ride their bicycles and leave their cars at home or even get rid of their cars altogether, particulate matter pollution decreases and the city becomes quieter and prettier. A bold concept suggests building the first roofed cycle path along the U1 line in Berlin.
The U1 line in Berlin has long become famous and not only because of the musical “Linie 1”. 120 years ago, this elevated railway represented a bold innovation. And the idea of entrepreneur Martti Mela and cultural manager Simon Wöhr to create Berlin's first roofed cycle path alongside this line sounds just as bold. It is envisioned as a “green belt”, improving the quality of life of the neighbourhoods bordering it. The idea may sound slightly utopian, but actually, it isn’t – even though the planning for the seven designated sections do require extensive measures, rethinking and courage to implement.
The U1 cycle track is supposed to be integrated into structural conditions and existing traffic management systems. It will use open source technology, offer a high level of safety for cyclists and ideally, will motivate people to switch to bicycles. It will play a part in reducing particulate matter pollution and will inspire new ideas within urban development – and this is not mere wishful thinking, it is not impossible for the U1 cycle track to fulfil all of these expectations.
In 2019, the vision of Radbahn gave rise to the feasible follow-up project Reallabor Radbahn, which will be funded by the federal government and the state of Berlin until 2023. The extensive considerations that preceded this vision were presented by paper planes e.V. in the book Radbahn Berlin - Zukunftsvisionen für die ökomobile Stadt. The feasibility study is supported by the Berlin Senate, which commissioned it.
The idea was awarded the German Ecodesign Award when it was still at its very beginning. This was in 2015 and nobody could have said then whether there would really be enough supporters and whether spirits would stay high enough to follow through with the idea.