(Unedited) Podcast Transcript 354: Active Transportation Laws in Berlin

October 7, 2021

This week we’re joined by Roland Stimpel of The German Pedestrian Association Fussverkehr.  Roland chats with us about Berlin’s new mobility laws including the 2018 Mobility Act and 2021’s pedestrian law amendments. We also talk about SUVs, the struggle to find public servants, and Ampelmännchen, the traffic light man.

Below is a full unedited transcript. To listen to the episode, you can find it at Streetsblog USA or Libsyn.

Jeff Wood (43s):
Roland Stimpel, welcome to the talking head ways podcast.

Roland Stimpel (1m 19s):
Nice to be with you.

Jeff Wood (1m 21s):
Thanks for being with us. We appreciate you waking up early for us before we get started. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Roland Stimpel (1m 29s):
Yeah, my name’s Roland Stimpel, I’m a train city planner, but I never worked as that. I worked as a journalist for 30 years now. I’m 64 and I had the opportunity to get retired a bit earlier. And so I joined the pedestrians club of Germany, the best trans lobby. I’m on the board now and to public affairs, to political lobbying, planning, and organization for the pedestrians in Germany.

Jeff Wood (1m 55s):
So you were trained as a planner, but then you ended up as a journalist. How does that happen?

Roland Stimpel (1m 60s):
Well, what I learned on college as a planner, I wasn’t a group in an action group, which wanted to prevent the building of a freeway right through the middle of Berlin. And we succeeded in that and I got into, through public work to, to work with media work for that group. And at the same time, I did some internships at the state planning agencies and I realized, which was the right world for me, not the one in state agencies, but the one in the more free and open world of media. And so I joined

Jeff Wood (2m 33s):
Well. So you must’ve seen a lot of, you know, paid attention closely to a lot of planning processes in Berlin’s history. Anything else besides the freeway stop, you know, stand out to you?

Roland Stimpel (2m 43s):
Yeah, there was a lot in Berlin. Of course, this was what I told about was 40 years ago and 30 years ago, the wall felt and Berlin had to find out nearly what it was. The center in was invested in pirates. And from today divided half cities had to develop to one capital city, and this was not only traffic planning, it was housing, it was office building infrastructure, greenery. And now we are in the time of climate change where this gets more and more important. And so there’s always change here and lots of dynamics.

Jeff Wood (3m 19s):
And from that time, you know, how much has happened in terms of transforming from maybe a more car oriented place to a more pedestrian and cyclist and public transport oriented place?

Roland Stimpel (3m 31s):
Well, I’m sad that I have to say that until a few years ago and official politics, actually nothing. The east of Berlin, where very few people had had a car got car oriented to we weren’t above this sense that it’s London to repeat what the Western mistakes we’re already met, but it didn’t help strong rules, strong lobbies, and people who were happy to have a car or a big current, the first time of their life. They wanted it. And, but at the same time, cycling increased a lot. Public transit was extended. Public transit in Berlin is rather good. I would say it’s one of the best in the world so that the car is not dominating in quantities.

Roland Stimpel (4m 12s):
It’s only a one third of all ways are done by cars. But of course it dominates in terms of space. It uses and terms of everything, you know, noise and pollution, parking space and all that danger and all that. But for five years ago, we got to change in city government. And since then they try to change the traffic situation and to stress everything what’s not car and the beginning, it was very slow of it because you need a good administration for that. And you have federal laws which prevented, but slowly it goes on. And the first thing is something formula, which is very German first to see what laws for cycling for walking.

Roland Stimpel (4m 58s):
And now we try, hopefully we will follow what’s in that loss.

Jeff Wood (5m 2s):
Yeah. And, and that’s what I wanted to chat with you about because it’s been so kind of exciting. What’s been going on ever since 2018 and maybe a little bit before that, but I wanted to ask you about the mobility act and what happened in 2018 and what made that come to pass. And also what was included in the mobility act in 2018,

Roland Stimpel (5m 19s):
It was the first mobility act, which was not only an act for traffic rules or for a car oriented street organizations and street building. It said that there has to be a priority on ecological and environmentally friendly means of transportation on walking, cycling and public transport. And the first part was stressed on cycling because they had the strongest lobby cyclists. And it said that many streets have to have good cycle walks. A real network of Cycleworks in the city has to be established. It’s about thousand kilometers of cycling paths. And the city would just, I think, in the size one-third of Los Angeles, but a few things have been really done since because it lacks planners, it lacks funds.

Roland Stimpel (6m 6s):
They have been grown intellects. The political will, the law is in existence, but the administration isn’t there, this of course, lots of protests and resistance by car drivers by trade and economy lobbies and so on.

Jeff Wood (6m 19s):
It’s interesting. It sounds so similar to San Francisco. We have a city policy actually written into the charter. There’s a transit first policy and it’s still hard to get past the auto lobby and the folks who drive their cars and to make, you know, buses and trains and people and bikes first over cars. It’s I guess it’s typical of places around the world

Roland Stimpel (6m 38s):
At the same everywhere. Yeah. I’m afraid. Yeah, it depends. There are interesting exceptions. The most interesting in Europe is Paris where the city limits the city boundaries official. They include a rather small area so that in the area of Paris, 80% of the people that don’t live in Paris and the people in the inner city, they are, most of them don’t have cars and they are not interested in contracting. So they ban cars from many roads or established speed limits and things like that. And the people in the suburbs, they are angry about it, but they can’t do anything because they don’t want vote with Paris mayor and the parents cancer.

Jeff Wood (7m 18s):
That’s interesting. I mean, I understood that generally, that there’s a lot going on and, and mayor Hidalgo is doing a great job in Paris, thinking about, you know, getting more pedestrian, traffic, more bike traffic, and cutting off cars from the sand river and those types of things. But I didn’t think about it geographically. I mean, I think that that’s the case for a lot of places here in the U S at least where you have a very kind of suburban constituency that rules over the urban constituency. And so if you don’t have voters in that suburban constituency at all, it makes it easier to pass laws and rules. What is Berlin’s constituency like? Like what’s the urban boundary that, you know, the city controls and people vote within

Roland Stimpel (7m 55s):
Very wide, the size of a what’s the community, the city of Berlin is nine times bigger than Paris. And so big parts of Berlin also Berlin too, that influenced politics in Berlin. We had an election just one week ago and there the sub urban needs, they gave them roads and strengthens politicians who are rather car oriented tomorrow, say that. So you can sell wall problems by buy cars and subways somewheres are so nice because they don’t bother the cause on the surface. And you put the cyclists inside roads and you forget that pedestrians. So we’re very conservative politics, but this hasn’t, it hasn’t gotten a majority, but it’s still influential in Berlin.

Roland Stimpel (8m 38s):
This type of politics.

Jeff Wood (8m 39s):
Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah. So last, I guess it was Monday that the election happened or was it on Sunday? Because on Sunday in Germany, it was on Sunday. You found out the results probably on Monday. A lot of people did when they woke up. Was it a positive outcome generally?

Roland Stimpel (8m 52s):
Well, it was mixed. So the radicals, the very right and on the very left, they will weaken. And my opinion, that’s always nice. But in the Senate, you really don’t know yet. What kind of government will come out as the social democratic party, who in traffic, things is a bit conservative and they may rule with the greens of them, a rule with the conservatives, everybody deals with everybody. And that’s an interesting situations where, where the election is over, but in that type of parliament oriented system, where everybody can build a coalition with everybody nearly afterwards, you don’t know yet what will be the reason.

Jeff Wood (9m 30s):
Also, I saw the nonbinding resolution on housing. That was an interesting result too. I think there’s a lot of people here are watching to see that, how that comes out and, and, and how the housing situation is. Because I know in California, housing is tight. The governor just signed 27 bills about housing alone this week, and two bills before that, that were really important. And so we’re watching closely what Berlin is doing specifically around housing. It’s interesting to watch. Yeah.

Roland Stimpel (9m 54s):
Well, it’s a problem in itself. I could talk about it for, for many minutes now, what building has had growth, a lot of growth too, and there has not been enough construction for that. So, well, housing got tight rents, rose, and many people are upset about it. And you could discuss a long time about what’s the right means, build more or restrict rents, or change the ownership from private to public ownership. That’s what that decision is about to do. But you need a lot of money because actually you have to buy it. You can’t just take it. The city probably hasn’t the money. So I think it will not happen just because the city can’t afford it.

Jeff Wood (10m 33s):
Yeah. And then that’s a whole other podcast. We’ll talk about that at some other point in the future, housing is a big

Roland Stimpel (10m 38s):

Jeff Wood (10m 40s):
Exactly. Exactly. Well, I’m curious. What about the mobility act before we get to the pedestrian stuff? I’m curious, you know, was it mostly about safety? Was it about climate action? What were the kind of the driving forces behind it?

Roland Stimpel (10m 52s):
Because safety and making cycling more attractive. What’s the drive behind about it and more attractive means. Yeah. What you said, you were a fewer accidents, a better feeling of being safe and fewer obstacles like parking cars on bike ways, like getting away the cycleways from congestions so that you can drive right through the next fruit, the next traffic light, whereas cars have to stand in long lines and wait, getting traffic lines different or put them away so that you can go right through and things like that. Getting more and better parking space for bicycles, which is a problem too, where you have a lot, you have been to Amsterdam, you’ll know they’re all over, but what was the core of the law was about the infrastructure was about cycleways at least two meters wide, as I said, thousand kilometers of them and even hundred kilometers of fast cycling lanes where cyclists always have the right of way where they have a little crossings as possible, which we oppose partly because they plan these, not through streets, everywhere, but through greenery where people will walk and where people relax.

Roland Stimpel (12m 4s):
So this, this greenery, which is now a relaxation area, may get a traffic area, which trees and bushes would have to put away. And it’s a problem they’re cyclists wonders for fast cycling. And

Jeff Wood (12m 18s):
Yeah, it’s an interesting, you know, kind of opposition because usually you’d be on the same side, but I completely understand you don’t want to take away a greenspaces for just more traffic. Even if it’s cycling,

Roland Stimpel (12m 29s):
That’s great to have bicycles on the road. Any bicycle is better than any car. The reasons are obvious, no pollution, no noise, more safety, fewer space they need. So that’s great. But driving device with two wheels, like cycles like motorbikes, like east scooters, they have one huge disadvantage for pedestrians because they tend to use pedestrian space too. They drive and park on sidewalks in parks and public squares and everywhere. And there, we got a conflict with them. So on the one hand, right on the road, but bad on our, on our space. Yeah.

Jeff Wood (13m 6s):
Well, so I wrote down some of the stipulations for the mobility act, a hundred thousand new parking spaces, 200 million euros for bike infrastructure. Like you’re talking about redesigning 20 dangerous intersections, a year, 60 new public employees for implementation. You said it’s been hard because of the lack of planners potentially to make this actually happen.

Roland Stimpel (13m 25s):
He is that try to find these people, but don’t find them. You need train traffic engineers, and these train traffic engineers get double money if their work in private companies or planning agencies or so they get money and they don’t have to go to free citizens meetings every evening, citizens meetings every week. And don’t, don’t get eaten.

Jeff Wood (13m 48s):
I don’t get yelled at. Oh, that’s interesting. I would’ve thought that, you know, working city government you’d get paid a little better, but I guess not,

Roland Stimpel (13m 58s):
No, no, no, no, no. They pay a bit better than they used to, but because of the lack of planners, the companies can pay more. And so they end up in private economy instead of at state agencies.

Jeff Wood (14m 9s):
And you’re not going to go back into planning to get this done. Are you

Roland Stimpel (14m 14s):
Well, I’m 64 years old now. And it’s great. It’s, it’s kind of full-time non-paid job at the pedestrians. So yeah, so I’m in planning, but not

Jeff Wood (14m 27s):
You’re, you’re a good advocate. You’re a good advocate. Well, so here we are in 2021 and earlier this year, there was an amendment to the law to increase pedestrian safety. So was that always the plan to do bikes and transit and infrastructure for that. And then move on to pedestrians.

Roland Stimpel (14m 41s):
It was a plan to do this from the beginning, but they began with the cyclists who were strongest at that time. And then they added some pedestrian paragraphs and what’s in there. It’s great. It says more and better road crossings, like zebra lines, better situation on traffic lights, you waiting more, more green times to go wider sidewalks, really plant a priority, walking connections, safe from parts of suburban city centers to the next station or to the schools or things like that. Everything is fine. Lots of good and great ideas. And as it always is, the difficulty is not right.

Roland Stimpel (15m 21s):
All those ideas in the law, but to implement them in the,

Jeff Wood (15m 25s):
Have you seen any good implementations yet? You’re saying that it’s, it’s been hard to implement even though it’s in law, but have you seen some good examples of, of positive action coming out? Even if it’s a little bit,

Roland Stimpel (15m 35s):
Not a reality in some plans, for example, there is an historic Boulevard and the center of Berlin wander in Linden, which is a great thing because it has a wide and green prominent in the middle. The whole road is about, I think 40 or 50 meters wide and 20 meters of it in the center are walking and being spaced. It’s lined by trees on both sides. The subway land has just been built. So it’s up to reconstruction and this hopefully gets pedestrian oriented so that you can stroll from Brandenburg gate to the rebuild castle and to the museums on the other side. So it’s a great tourist. Hopefully it’s a great place for tourists as well as for Berliners.

Jeff Wood (16m 15s):
That’s awesome. That sounds really good. I haven’t been to Berlin, but I think I need to go at some point.

Roland Stimpel (16m 21s):

Jeff Wood (16m 24s):
I’ve been to, I’ve been to Heidelberg and I’ve been to places on, on the Western edge of, of Germany, but I haven’t been to central or east.

Roland Stimpel (16m 31s):
That’s quite different. It’s about the same difference as a, say, a small city in new England, somewhere in New Hampshire. Right.

Jeff Wood (16m 38s):
It’s very small. It’s very small. Yeah. So included is like you said, better zebra crossings. And one of the things that caught me was more play streets, street meetings zones. I think that’s really important. And here during the pandemic, we’ve had kind of an open streets movement at least in the United States. And so I think that’s been really beneficial for people to see that you can use streets for other things than driving, walking, and meeting and all that stuff. Actually by my house, there’s a little cafe on one of the slow streets and it seems like it started booming and business after the slow street was enacted. And so I really appreciated that. That was part of the law was more play streets and more spaces for meeting because that’s a really important part of, I think the pedestrian experience.

Roland Stimpel (17m 18s):
Yeah, this happened here too. We got pop up bike lanes on what had so far before being driving lanes. And we got pop up space for coffees and for restaurants on former parking space. That’s a great thing. So we’re at places where before one car could park eight, people could sit and have their evening meal. Of course that’s a great improvement in urban sense, but in other parts of the city, they still put all that on the sidewalks. And that’s the biggest problem you for us, that everybody thinks that the driving lane must be touched with anything about on the sidewalks. You can put whatever you want to parking space, bicycles, east scooters, restaurants, square advertising, things, technical things.

Roland Stimpel (18m 1s):
No, the devices for electric cars, you put on sidewalks too. And so it’s all too often, still a kind of a defense of fights we have to go through instead of looking forward to extending space and improving space, what we’d rather do, of course,

Jeff Wood (18m 19s):
It’s a squish, they’re squeezing everything onto the sidewalk and leaving the roadway free for vehicles. It can be frustrating from time to time.

Roland Stimpel (18m 27s):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s considered as a leftover space. Well, the thing, whatever you are getting an idea, what you want to do in public space, you do it on sidewalks. Yeah.

Jeff Wood (18m 36s):
One of the other things in there was also keeping GreenLights longer for pedestrians. And was that a problem before that the lights were turning before people were able to cross the street?

Roland Stimpel (18m 45s):
Yeah. It’s a huge problem. There is a technical rule, which says five seconds of Greenlight is enough. Then you have some, a little bit of edit time. W when it’s red, again, to reach the other side of the road. But of course, for old people, for people who have 300 on with them for handicapped people, that’s always not enough. And it really gets dangerous because cars turning around, they get green at the same time and they see you’re still on the road and your traffic light is already red and they think they’re on the right to push you away from there. And yeah, traffic lights, in my opinion are basically a bad thing. They’re invented for efficient car traffic and their obstacles for cyclists and for pedestrians.

Roland Stimpel (19m 26s):
And in as many places that possibility they should be replaced by zebra lines or by crossings, which are extended, where the whole crossing is not on the driveway level, but on the sidewalks level. And wherever you, everybody who drives has to go up a little bit and where signs and pavements give the clear signal. You, you enter pedestrian space. You may go through when you drive, but you have to take care. You have to do it. And pedestrian space, you are not the chief here, but you are a guest and you have to behave like that.

Jeff Wood (19m 59s):
Another thing I saw, I was looking up, you know, some of the stuff where you’ve made comments, I found an article talking about a green arrow that was put next to red lights. And, you know, we have right on red rules here in the U S where basically a car drivers. If they feel like there’s nobody coming, you can turn right on red. Some places are actually outlawing that because it’s a pedestrian danger, but I was amused by the green arrow next to a red light. It seems even more confusing than a right on red rule where he could it’s red. But you have to think that, you know, but now there’s a green arrow telling you, maybe you can go. I it’s confusing. It would be confusing to me anyways. How is it there?

Roland Stimpel (20m 36s):
It’s got a strange history. This was invented in east Germany because in poor east Germany, they didn’t have the means for electrical green lights. So they made them dressed on metal plates. And after the unification, they sign restaurant. Oh, that’s nice. That’s interesting. We could try it too. It works badly. Some car drivers within a few seconds, but there are much more accidents on crossings where this is implemented. And nowadays there is an extra green light for cyclists, which you don’t need to, but for pedestrians, it always means that when you have green, it may happen that somebody went and you think you’re safe. You’re not safe because other things they may drive there.

Roland Stimpel (21m 19s):
So it’s more stressful pedestrians and fewer safety. This shouldn’t be abandoned completely. This type of green arrows. For example, if a cycle, a cycle a lot too. And if I do a right turn, it’s very easy to adjust. When there is a red light, I stop. I pushed my bike around the corner. It’s legally, I don’t endanger any pedestrian. And then I’d go on driving on the bike. I don’t need a green arrow to go on without stop at a red traffic light. Nobody needs it.

Jeff Wood (21m 48s):
Not for bikes. Yeah, you’re right. I think we just passed an Idaho stop law where you don’t have to completely stop. As long as the intersection is clear on a bike, which makes a little bit more sense, especially if you’re powering yourself, how much did an aging population factor into the pedestrian law? It seems like as people get older, they start to realize, oh, I’m walking more and maybe I need more protection. Yeah.

Roland Stimpel (22m 8s):
Well, cycling is a thing which is mainly practiced by people in say middle ages from teenage to early retirement, walking on feet, our children go to school and to go to the playground and visit friends and old people. They walk twice as much as middle aged people who have cars. We have long ways. We’re always in a hurry for profession and family and all these reasons. And you’re in Germany. The population gets older. The baby boomers get old and there are relatively few children are born. So the part of people who are old, it gets bigger. And for this reason, walking gets more important.

Roland Stimpel (22m 50s):
And that’s the transfer us to say, we get more, it’s a basic mobility for all people. And so more should be done for that. And it’s should not be like it has been tried for years that people have to adapt to traffic to fast traffic, to car traffic. But traffic has to be at that for people. That’s the opposite way. Yeah.

Jeff Wood (23m 10s):
Do you have a favorite part of the new pedestrian law and then a new pedestrian regulations? Do you have a favorite part of it? Something that was implemented?

Roland Stimpel (23m 18s):
Well, the idea is in it that on more places, more points when the ways of pedestrians and the ways of drivers cross, it happens everywhere. It happens at every corner. There is not as usual and common priority for driving, but priority for walking. That’s the most basic thing for safety, for convenience, for walking, without having a break stop every 200 meters. So

Jeff Wood (23m 43s):
Before a cars had the right of way, and now pedestrians have the right of way when it comes to the,

Roland Stimpel (23m 50s):
Yeah, that’s not a general traffic rule for every place, but an idea which is in the law, which has to be realized by the way of redesigning crossings. As I said, by putting the level on sidewalk level by surface design, which symbolizes this as not a rivalry, but this is a sidewalk where we are on my narrowing driving lines and all that.

Jeff Wood (24m 14s):
There are parts of Germany taken note of the laws that you all have posted and have followed suit. Has anybody else started thinking about these types of laws, the mobility laws and pedestrian laws?

Roland Stimpel (24m 25s):
Well, in other parts and other states of Germany, there is not yet a law like that, but others of the 16 German states, for example, in Southwest Bartonville, Wittenberg, that’s Heidelberg and Stuttgart and so on and Freiburg, they have a minute minister for traffic, who’s green, and who’s interested in pedestrian traffic. And hopefully there will be a change in federal politics. Now we just had federal elections last week and a very conservative and car oriented traffic minister. Won’t get that job again. So there will be reforms lost in basic laws, and there will be refunding, which we’ll hopefully get a better position for pedestrian traffic too.

Roland Stimpel (25m 5s):
Yeah. We’re optimistic that things will come now.

Jeff Wood (25m 9s):
Do you think that you’ll be able to get a car-free city like Paris has with some of the changes that are happening

Roland Stimpel (25m 14s):
Not completely carefree Paris, isn’t carefree. In my opinion, the question is it’s not about pushing cars out completely, but changing conditions. So improving the conditions for every kind of movement, which is not car and why not worsening the conditions for car driving by having fewer cars and spaces by strict to speed limits by fewer privileges and crossings. So that people realize that it’s faster and cheaper and equally safe to use other means of transportation and to change their means of traffic by a voluntary decision and not by being forced people as you know, hate everything.

Roland Stimpel (25m 57s):
What says this and that car driving, for example, and that area is prohibited. But if car driving is difficult, if it takes more time, if you are in congestion, if you don’t find a parking space, you behave different. You know that from America, once I read studies from companies who moved from Los Angeles to New York, to Manhattan in one or two cases, and in Los Angeles, of course, 90% of the employees had come by car. How else? And in New York, 90% of the employers, if not a hundred percent came by subway and by foot. Yeah. So that’s always the conditions and it’s always the infrastructure which makes traffic behavior.

Jeff Wood (26m 37s):
And speaking of infrastructure, one of the things I noticed that you’ve said in the past too, is thinking about kind of the little incremental changes, rather than some of the bigger kind of infrastructure projects and, you know, making those small changes is really important. And after a while, they’ll all add up to, you know, a bigger change rather than maybe one or two projects that might seem big at the time, but they’re not gonna mean anything in terms of the overall change in behavior.

Roland Stimpel (26m 59s):
That’s absolutely true. So a big single projects, they can only be symbolic. This can be important, like having a nice pedestrian was someone in the city center or a prominent at the banks of the river or the sea. But basically it’s about looking at every intersection at every block everywhere. Whereas so far pedestrians have to stop and have to take care and have to wait for others. So every big city has thousand or 10,000 intersections. And that’s the place where the traffic change really takes place, where it really happens. And nobody can go there and make a big party for opening and you huge pedestrian connection or so.

Roland Stimpel (27m 41s):
Yeah, but you can celebrate thousand small parties every day. There.

Jeff Wood (27m 45s):
We talked about that a lot here too, because I guess politicians like really big projects. And like you said, they get the cut the ribbon, but in the smaller projects, maybe a pothole or something like that, getting fixed, it doesn’t necessarily get a ribbon cutting. Maybe we should start. I know that one of my colleagues who was on the show with me often often says we should have like little tiny ribbon cuttings for, for, for, for every project we do, or at least put them all in a big celebration so we can celebrate the change that’s happening

Roland Stimpel (28m 12s):
At least. Yeah, indeed we should. Yeah. We address developing an app, a smartphone app that’s supported by the state agency for ecological protection and where you get an easy opportunity your summer on the road and you just mark bad or good situations. And you can mark the good situation improvement, easy crossing, or so when you see there are 20 easy crossings in one area. Yeah. He wants to send this to the mayor and to say you’re a great guy and assessed to be published. Yeah,

Jeff Wood (28m 41s):
That sounds good. Maybe, maybe also find some Pokemon. I also had a question about, SUV’s a big thing here in the United States is the sale of, of larger vehicles. And it’s becoming a kind of a problem for pedestrians because they’re getting larger and larger and it’s becoming kind of a greater threat. Do you have the same issue with larger vehicles in Berlin? Yeah,

Roland Stimpel (29m 5s):
We have it indeed. I think one of three cars, which is sell it here is an SUV too. And well, it’s absolutely counterproductive for using cities, Patriots and efficient. It’s an ecological. They need twice as much fuel or twice as heavy electrical energy devices. And so sometimes I think that, you know, those are the Dino Soros. They were biggest shortly before they were extinct. Maybe it’s the same with city cars.

Jeff Wood (29m 33s):
Oh, that’s a good, that’s a good analogy because they turned into birds. Now all of our birds are tiny, right.

Roland Stimpel (29m 42s):
The smallest and the more flexible survived. Yeah,

Jeff Wood (29m 45s):
Exactly. And I, and I loved your analogy too. Thinking about post-war cars where the same weight as Tesla batteries. I mean, that’s an insane thought in itself. Yeah. That’s a crazy thought that just the battery itself is the same weight as a car was post-war.

Roland Stimpel (29m 58s):
Yeah. Yeah. The post-war cross like Cipro, what was called the smaller car or the fear first period from Italy and post a way where they waited about 500 and some kilos and the Tesla S battery wakes 600 kilos alone.

Jeff Wood (30m 15s):
That’s insane. That’s crazy. I mean, it’s funny, you know, you see pictures of vehicles and even like, some people have posted here in the United States, like a BMW three series, they post a picture of it. And it was like, you know, maybe like a third of the size of one of the ex SUV’s from the same company. And so the, the size of the vehicles has changed even though the person hasn’t gotten that much bigger,

Roland Stimpel (30m 37s):
What do we need? What we urgently need is absolutely the opposite. There are many ways everyday waste, which can hardly be done by other means then by individual devices, with an engine, which are from one suburb to other say, they’re not 20 miles, that’s too far for cycling. And people wish convenience where they wish the feeling of safety. People sit alone in a big car. Why not establishing cars, which have the weight of 400 kilos with one seat or as a maximum to where people can drive work through their leisure things, to a smaller shopping things and so on. So if the cars lose 80% of their weight, they need much fewer energy and it’s still a car, but rather there are like a motorbike with a support around it.

Roland Stimpel (31m 26s):
And I think that’s what we need to, and I always wonder that nowhere, some people try to develop devices like that, but nobody buys them so far because you don’t have a real advantage later expensive because they are produced in small manufacturers so far, and you stand in the same congestion, but they need parking privileges. They need driving privileges by own lanes or better the right of using bike lanes with the same speed, not fracture. This is really a gap in traffic devices, which should be filled somewhere in the world. Maybe in China. They’ll do that firsthand.

Jeff Wood (32m 0s):
We’ll see. We’ll see. What’s next. So in 2018 was the mobility act 2021 is the addition of the pedestrian part of the mobility act. What’s next for, you know, lawmaking at least if not implementation.

Roland Stimpel (32m 14s):
Well, next is commercial traffic. It had really been done, but didn’t get to an end before the election. So there has to be a restart all these cars, which deliver parcels and deliver small things or the people who would do repair works. They stand on sidewalks or they block traffic lines. And so that parking lots have to space has to be changed from long-time parking resident, parking two, short-term parking for this type of cars or for police and taxis. And so on that more small transport of smaller goods has to be done by bikes, of course, on the road, not on the sidewalk.

Roland Stimpel (32m 55s):
And of course, public transit has to be pushed. Buses have to get more own lines. They have to get automatic green lines when they approach a traffic light. And they have an, in my opinion, they have a, to get privileges before cyclists too, because then transport, most of the people are much 50 people in the bus and it can’t be that many buses and pipelines here in Berlin. There are two cyclists and they can’t block a bus with 50 people in it. And so that has to be much work still has to be done to get a better organization and clearer priorities and traffic.

Jeff Wood (33m 31s):
Yeah. That’s, I think that’s a big thing. The delivery stuff that’s happening specifically, the curb management that needs to happen. People are working on it, but it’s going to be complicated. I think, you know, we’re going to kind of clash heads based on who gets priority. And I hope it’s the cyclists and pedestrians, but we’ll see how the, the powers that be agree with that. What’s next for you all what’s next for your organization and what are you all going to keep on pressing?

Roland Stimpel (33m 54s):
Well, on the federal level, there will probably be a change in traffic rules. So that cities get more opportunities for stricter speed limits, 30 AMA, which is about 20 miles per hour, that they can implement liberal lines easier and all big cities to the huge problem of east scooters, which block sidewalks everywhere, which are driven on sidewalks everywhere. And here they say this sharing devices, they have to be only on fixed places. There may be some parking place at every corner, every street corner, but they must be parked everywhere where the drivers one that doesn’t improve mobility, but that blocks mobility and in dangerous mobility of the desk, trans and others.

Jeff Wood (34m 41s):
And then my last question, obviously Berlin’s very well known for the, forgive me if I, if I, if I say this wrong, but the ample chin did I say?

Roland Stimpel (34m 52s):
Yeah, accurate. Yeah. Well, yeah, there was a sign invented the east Germany too. And an indication of people thought, well, that’s nice to have it everywhere. And we got emperor women too. And we got the couples hetero and homosexual as well. Yeah. But it has brought some creativity. It’s nice to watch it. It’s not the serious and technically important part of traffic, but well, it may make you happy. It may make you look at that too. You get some amusement. Yeah.

Jeff Wood (35m 23s):
Yeah. It’s, it’s kind of like, it’s smile inducing, right. You know, it’s a different take on the, on the green means go guy in the light. I appreciate that. I love that. Yeah. It’s awesome. Well, where can folks find you online if they want to get more information about what you all are working on

Roland Stimpel (35m 41s):
For a loss only in Germany, our website is www point Fusco F U S S dash E you point D E. Awesome. Sorry. That is only in Germany, but we work on some better international connecting. There is a European association of pedestrian organizations and there is even though a world organization of pedestrians, look it up and you will find information, not only about us, but about walking all over the world in English to,

Jeff Wood (36m 14s):
Well, I find also if you want to go to the site, usually Google translate you type in the URL and it’ll translate all the stuff in there. So it helps out a lot of go go to a lot of different sites around the world, trying to find out more information about good, active transportation. So I appreciate your work and I appreciate you. Thank you for coming on the show. Rolling. We really appreciate your time.

Roland Stimpel (36m 34s):
Yeah. Thank you, Jeffrey. And to you and to all your listeners, many happy and good walks and stroll through San Francisco up and down hill.

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