100 German cities want the right to set 30 km/h limits

100 German cities want the right to set 30 km/h limits

An initiative in Germany to push for local government powers to set 30 km/h limits has signed-up its 100th city.  

The “Lebenswerte Städte durch angemessene Geschwindigkeiten” campaign, which can be roughly translated as “Liveable cities need reasonable speeds”, is calling on the federal government to change the law in order to let local authorities introduce 30 km/h speed limits more easily.  The current road traffic law sets narrow limits for the local authorities and only allows speed limits to be changed when specific hazards are shown, such as a school crossing, and only for certain road sections, not whole zones.

The initiative was launched in July 2021 by the cities of Aachen, Augsburg, Freiburg, Hanover, Leipzig, Münster and Ulm.  Berlin, the German capital, is one of the latest to sign-up.

The governing coalition in Germany included a reference to such a legal change in its coalition agreement, but there has been little progress since. 

“The rapid growth of the initiative and its non-partisan character show the urgency of the matter… this is about quality of life in our cities and not about transport policy ideology,” said Thomas Dieberg, Mayor of the City of Leipzig and spokesman for the initiative.

Frauke Burgdorff, city planning officer of the city of Aachen and also spokesperson for the city initiative, commented: “Lower speeds…can make a significant contribution to achieving urban planning, traffic and environmental goals…and a city worth living in.”

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