Brief description of the study area
Hermannstraße is a 2.6-kilometer-long main road that connects the central Hermannplatz square with the A100 highway in the Neukölln district of Berlin. It is one of Berlin's important north-south connections through a densely built-up residential and business district. On large parts of the road, bicycle traffic is routed and directed in mixed traffic on the roadway. Time and again, dangerous situations arise for cyclists. Cars parked on the side of the road as well as the high volume of delivery traffic render the situation unattractive and unsafe for cycle traffic. In May 2021, a speed limit of 30km/h was introduced for the entire length of the Hermannstraße. In a first construction phase, an 860-meter long segment of the bike lane has been built in the southern part of Hermannstraße between Glasower Straße and Thomasstraße since the end of October 2021. Certain sections will be protected from motorized traffic with steel bollards, while others are given clearance to bus and bicycle traffic. Following substantial delay, the construction phase is now in its final stages.
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- Bicycle traffic
After the long-delayed start of construction of the protected cycle lane at the end of October 2021 – which has still not been secured with bollards yet (as of November 2022) - the number of cyclists has only increased minimally by 1.5 percent. As this increase is situated within the range of survey inaccuracies, it must be concluded that the new bike lane had no effect on the number of cyclists. This is plausible for several reasons: the new bike lane on less than 900 meters of Hermannstraße ends north of Thomasstraße in mixed traffic with more than 20,000 motor vehicles per day. South of Glasower Straße, the bike lane turns into a narrow and uneven high-curb bike path. Thus, the Hermannstraße bike lane fragment lacks any network significance to date. The already rebuilt section of Hermannstraße is also not suitable to convince many safety-conscious cyclists to ride along the heavily trafficked Hermannstraße due to a lack of protective elements and the lane´s recurrent misuse as a parking lot and delivery zone.
- Motor vehicle traffic
Data from a traffic model show that there has been a steady decline in the number of cars on Hermannstraße over the past several years. From the year 2019 to mid-2022, the daily motor vehicle volume decreased by 17 percent. However, no immediate causal connection with the construction of the bicycle lane can thusly be established or deduced.
- Speed limit of 30 km/h
In the six months prior to the introduction of the 30 km/h-speed limit (11/2020 to 04/2021), the NO2-pollution level of the Hermannstraße was at 33.2 µg/m³ between Rollbergstraße and Selchower Straße. In the same period one year later (11/2021 to 04/2022), NO2-pollution was on the decline at only 28.2 µg/m³. This corresponds to a decrease of 15 percent.
- Speed limit of 30 km/h