By the Water
Riding alongside runners while dreaming of the ocean in Kreuzberg.
The Radbahn runs along the Landwehr Canal, whose potential has not yet been developed. Due to a lack of access and viewing axes, many people are unaware that the canal runs through this part of the city. On the following pages, we have made a suggestion about how to significantly improve the quality of this space. Given that many new residential and office buildings are to be created in the vicinity of the canal in the coming years, a city-wide discussion about urban renewal and attractive meeting places for recreation is particularly relevant.
In this section, we also appraise the potential for a green logistics center, which could reduce delivery truck traffic (and the associated emissions) in the political and economic center of the capital.
The Radbahn runs along the Landwehr Canal for about 1,000 meters. In this section, we will reserve the space below the viaduct and directly on the water for pedestrians. Cyclists will be allotted space along the road, separate from motorized traffic.
The Radbahn runs along the north side of the U1 stations Möckernbrücke and Hallesches Tor, parallel to the road, before continuing on Gitschiner Strasse.
Rediscovering the Water
Historical pictures prove the economic importance of the Landwehr Canal as a supply route for goods and building materials. The connection of the space under the railway viaduct to the water has been lost over the course of time and, as in many other places in Berlin, the public spaces close to the water, although present, have disappeared from the collective consciousness. However, people have always built their settlements on rivers and bays – the view of water simultaneously soothes and fascinates us. It therefore makes sense to restore the connection to the canal.
Beach in the Middle of the City
Between Großbeerenstrasse, the Möckernbrücke subway station and the Tempodrom, a new urban quarter with 500 apartments and 20,000 m2 of commercial space will be built in the coming years. For future residents, as well as passers-by and visitors, the development of a ‘Möckern beach’ will create a new space for socialization and recreation.
This space will offer high-quality amenities and a unique urban atmosphere, especially on hot summer days. Small (mobile) food and drink outlets could be established here and it would be easy to realize a weatherproof stage for free events, all of which would make the location even more attractive.
Space for Pedestrians
The car-oriented development of Berlin that took place in the 1960s has had negative consequences for cyclists – but also for pedestrians. The existing promenade that runs north of the Landwehr Canal is too often interrupted by intersections without pedestrian crossings, so walkers and joggers are unable to use this route safely. Parallel to the Radbahn we see the potential to revive such spaces. The aim of open space planning should be to connect the public spaces along the river from Treptow / Kreuzberg to Charlottenburg. In this section, we outline the foundation for this development. Pedestrians will receive the extremely attractive route along the shore, while cyclists are placed next to the road.
Despite the issues, many sections along the Landwehr Canal are attractive today – yet they are not easily accessible. By establishing crosswalks and updating paths, walkers could stroll along the Landwehr Canal for many kilometers.
Mehringdamm bridge crossing
The Radbahn does not replace cycle traffic management at intersections, but supplements and enhances it. Therefore the integration of special cases is not a problem, such as extended junctions with a bridge between the two cycle lanes.
The Radbahn should be treated like a tram in the middle of the road (in relation to the main traffic direction). Since the federal road (B96) runs from the south, via Mehringdamm, over the bridge and then west along Hallesches Ufer, temporarily high traffic volumes should be taken into consideration. At peak times, a special traffic light phase would be required.
Mehringdamm intersection: integration of foot, bicycle and car transport
Development at Hallesches Tor
The area around Mehringplatz, between Hallesches Tor and Friedrichstrasse, is known as a social flashpoint. At the same time, its inner-city location has enormous potential for the local economy. The plaza is at the center of the Radbahn, so the realization of our proposal has the potential to revive this relatively wide public space and provide an impetus for economic development. Local retailing would be strengthened and some residents could benefit from new jobs created through the development of a station for transport bikes (described on the following pages).
23% of journeys in the commercial sector could be completed using transport bicycles over the long term.*
* Gruber, J., Rudolph C. (2016): Untersuchung des Einsatzes von Fahrräd ern im Wirtschaftsverkehr (WIV-RAD) (Schlussbericht). Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR) / Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (BMVI).
Es scheint, als würde der Polytheismus der Radler den Monotheismus des Erdöls zu Fall bringen können, so sinngemäß der französische Ethnologe Marc Augé. Die Berliner Radbahn wird uns in diesem Sinne wieder ein weiteres Stück voran in eine postfossile Zukunft führen und zur Verbesserung der städtischen Lebensqualilität beitragen. Die Stadt als kulturelles und ökonomisches Laboratorium lebt von der Qualität ihrer öffentlichen Räume. Je weniger diese durch die Zumutungen des fossilen Verkehrs zerstört werden, desto besser kann die Bürgergesellschaft gedeihen. [...] Prof. Dr. Stephan Rammler, Experte für Mobilitätsund Zukunftsforschung
“This is exactly what our city stands for: the Radbahn is an innovative idea from creative minds. The trial area can generate new ideas that go far beyond actual cycling and thus promote Berlin as a smart business location. And there are other great knock-on effects: with the Radbahn, we are creating more space on the road for delivery, cycling and automotive traffic and thereby making mobility safer.” Jan Eder, Chief Executive Officer of IHK Berlin
Transport Bicycle Hub at Hallesches Tor
One of the goals of Berlin’s current government is to make the historic center attractive and pedestrian-friendly and halt increasing individual motorized traffic. However since there are countless businesses between Tiergarten and Alexanderplatz, the River Spree and the Landwehr Canal, there will continue to be substantial delivery traffic unless new alternatives are established. One solution currently being discussed is to use the subway or suburban train lines in the early morning, when passenger traffic ceases for a few hours. Another strategy would be to reanimate the city’s numerous canals for freight transport. We aim to broaden the discussion with our sketch of a logistics station near Hallesches Tor shown below.
At the major ports and logistics centers on Berlin’s outskirts, e-transport vessels are loaded with XS containers. At the transport bicycle hub at Hallesches Tor, couriers take the small containers on their bicycles and distribute the goods to the political and economic center of the capital.