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Berlin city center may become a car-free zone

Friedrichstrasse shopping street in Berlin
© ESB Professional / Shutterstock

The activists of the Berlin Autofrei project collected more than 50,000 signatures from residents of the German capital in support of restricting car traffic in the city center. The authorities are currently exploring the possibility of putting the initiative into practice.

The Berlin Autofrei project assumes that in an area of 88 square kilometers, inside the ring road of the city railroad, there will be a virtual ban on private cars, including electric vehicles. Exceptions will be made for people who need a car for work, people with reduced mobility, emergency services, and civil servants. Public transportation will not be stopped either. Everyone else will be able to use the services of a rental car 12 times a year, for example, to transport things when changing places of residence.

The project will be viable if at least 20,000 signatures supporting the project are collected in the first phase and 170,000 in the second. If Berlin authorities still refuse to change the legal framework after a successful vote for the initiative, a third phase, a public referendum, is also possible.

The German capital has already experimented with restricting automobile traffic. In 2020, Friedrichstraße, one of the city's busiest streets, was partially closed from June to November. This is how the Berlin transport department assessed the impact of such measures on pedestrian, cyclist, car and truck traffic in the Mitte district.