Straight through - becoming a part of it

Kottbusser Tor Schlesisches Tor


Can Radbahn be integrated into train stations with exits in the middle of the median, such as Kottbusser Tor and Görlitzer Bahnhof? How does Radbahn address these two urban hotspots?

Following we discuss not only the technical and traffic solutions, but also the social and cultural opportunities along the route.

The Route

From the roundabout at Kottbusser Tor to Görlitzer Bahnhof, Radbahn runs centrally under the protection of the railway viaduct. At Görlitzer Bahnhof, the centrally located entrance/exit stairs could be easily relocated to the side, but shortly thereafter other obstacles (such as the occasional narrow openings of stone pillars of the viaduct) exist. We recommend re-utilizing this space for an open-air art and local goods market, which is why, for the following 400 meters after Görlitzer Bahnhof, Radbahn runs along the north side of the elevated railway. At Lausitzer Platz, the Radbahn returns to its usual position beneath the viaduct.

Section through Kottbusser Tor

From a technical perspective, it should be noted that Kottbusser Tor does not function as a traditional roundabout. All access roads are regulated using light signal systems (LSS). These regulations would make it easier to realize the centrally located Radbahn in the same way that a tram is realized using LSS phases or, if necessary, with special phases. Hence with minimal traffic engineering adaptations, it would be possible to unlock enormous urban development potential. Our concept would facilitate a unique, modern and intelligent use of this currently problematic urban space.

The junction at Kottbusser Tor is not only particular on account of its transit function, but also because it serves as an important public space. So there are many exciting options and opportunities regarding the integration of the Radbahn. There is ample space on the protected traffic island.

Social Space around Radbahn

Radbahn is not only a traffic solution, but also a meeting place. It is a project that connects people and districts; its urban development policy strength lies in emphasizing spatial peculiarities. Our concept of new social spaces along the route is based on three strategies:

1 Radbahn itself is a social space where you can meet on your bike or at rest areas;

2 We have developed additional social spaces such as ‘Möckern beach’ that cater to additional socio-recreational needs

3 In many places, our planning deliberately leaves undefined urban spaces, which can be developed by residents or ‘creatives’ and used for a variety of projects.

With a little imagination, you can turn a few square meters into a stage or a pétanque field.
We will outline possible uses for the areas around Kottbusser Tor, as well as those between Görlitzer Bahnhof and Lausitzer Platz, however more detailed concepts and plans are to be developed in cooperation with local organisations and residents.

Kottbusser Tor

This historically significant urban location has a unique character and until recently was a good example of a multi-ethnic social system. Today, however, locals complain about drug trafficking, robbery and violence in the open and feel that the area’s multicultural diversity is under threat. We asked ourselves: could a different kind of plaza design could help solve the problems and break the downward spiral?

The basis for our approach is the unique architectural and spatial ensemble of the Neue Kreuzberger Zentrum with the roundabout in its center. We believe this place has great potential, which could be unlocked through a series of smaller interventions. The goal should be to create a new atmosphere, to reactivate Kotti as a social space and thereby counteract the area’s ongoing issues. This is the only way to restore understanding and trust among the community, reanimate the space for them and achieve a rebirth of its previously vibrant and positive multicultural identity.

Open stage at Kottbusser Tor

The roof under the viaduct offers space for cultural happenings

From Görlitzer Bahnhof to Lausitzer Platz

We propose converting the covered median strip between Görlitzer Bahnhof and Lausitzer Platz into an area for temporary projects and events. Markets or even mobile structures could be set up for local entrepreneurs. People interested in using the area could submit their proposals to the municipal administrators, who would then rent out sections of the space at affordable prices.

Straßenmarkt unter dem U-Bahn Viadukt

Cycle-Through Art Exhibition

There are already many works of art along the future Radbahn route, including several pieces by world-famous graffiti artists. We respect this and also want to actively promote art. In 1963 Stockholm introduced a very interesting concept for art promotion called the ‘one percent law’. It stipulates that one percent of the total cost of a construction project (including new construction, renovations and expansions) must be used to promote publicly accessible artworks or benefit the creators of such artwork. We would like to utilize this idea for the Radbahn and recommend using the one percent rule to organize a public competition, which would be overseen by a professional jury and representatives of local institutions.

Ausschnitt: Vom Görlitzer Bahnhof bis zum Lausitzer Platz

The Junction at Görlitzer Bahnhof

Throughout its history, the junction at Görlitzer Bahnhof has become increasingly complicated. The original east-west road/railway route along the old tariff wall (Zollmauer) was replaced by an angled crossing at Oranien-Straße, respectively Wiener Straße / Manteuffelstraße during the extension and development of Köpenicker Feld. And since Skalitzer Straße has two lanes, the junction has a total of eight entry and exit points. The result is a sharply angled intersection combined with the installations for the elevated railway, which are distributed over a particularly large node.

Kreuzung Skalitzer Straße , Wiener Straße/ Oranienstraße und Manteuffelstraße

Yet it would be surprisingly easy to connect Radbahn with the bike lanes in the many access roads if our standard concept is applied – in other words, by creating a structurally separate bike lane that nevertheless follows the main flow of vehicle traffic. If the continuous Radbahn was placed alongside associated bicycle lanes in the intersection, this would create many waiting areas for cyclists making indirect or direct left turns. The turns would always be integrated into the traffic light sequence for motorized traffic, whereby cyclists would receive a green light 1-2 seconds before the main green light for vehicles. By clearly directing cyclists into all the access roads, we can improve the safety and organization of the traffic flows on this junction, which has so far been characterised by ad hoc urban planning.