The public space in Munich is limited. Cars, public transport, people on bicycles and pedestrians all compete for space. The available space should be distributed efficiently. Public transportation, cycling, and pedestrians are all space-efficient. They are not given enough space proportional to their efficiency. Cyclists and pedestrian traffic have a distinct advantage when they can travel directly and without detours. For Munich, the motto “City of short distances” has long been a guiding principle in traffic planning.
For these reasons, we want to redesignate current vehicle lanes or car parking to slow motor vehicle traffic, but not at the expense of space for pedestrian traffic, for public transport, or urban vegetation.
To implement a socially fair distribution of the available space, we must consider those who genuinely need extra space. These are for example emergency services, nursing services, and tradesmen. How can we ensure that these groups can continue to do their jobs? Who needs special permits? Here we need a discussion in our society that also dares to change existing federal laws. This cannot be the task of the Munich Bicycle Referendum, because these problems already occur at every rush hour, quite independent of our current rates of bicycle traffic.
The Referendum is designed to make cycling so attractive that many people recognize that it’s a more comfortable, healthier, more relaxed, faster, cheaper, and more reliable alternative to a private motorized vehicle. Each automobile takes up the space of 4 bicycles. Every second car trip is shorter than 5 kilometers. That is our greatest potential for shifting traffic. When the goals of the Referendum have been implemented, there will automatically be fewer cars because people are pragmatic and flexible. In contrast, building more car roads attracts more car traffic. We see that every day on Munich’s streets. We prefer to build cycle paths and attract bicycle traffic.