By on January 17, 2014

Hamburg

Germany’s presence in the motoring landscape is enormous, from the ongoing ‘Ring Time contests between the world’s automakers and their halo cars, to the famed Autobahn that connects Nürburg — and other cities in the country — with each other. Yet, the nation’s second-largest city, Hamburg, will eliminate Porsches, BMWs and Fords from its city center by 2034, when its car ban goes in effect.

Dubbed the Green Network by city planners, the urban sustainability plan will promote travel to the city center through walking, riding and mass transit along a series of green thoroughfares now in development. In turn, people who would normally be in their cars could instead explore the many restaurants, parks and shops they would have otherwise may have missed, as well as enjoy activities such as swimming, biking and boating.

When completed, Hamburg’s Green Network will connect parks, cemeteries, playgrounds and other green spaces throughout the entire city with each other, covering 17,000 acres — 40 percent — of the city’s entire area. The ultimate goal behind the project is to help the city become carbon neutral while heading off storm flooding; Hamburg’s median temperature has gone up 1.2 C (34 F) to 9 C (48 F) over the past 60 years, while sea levels rose 20 centimeters during the same period.

Currently, the only other European city to ban cars from its center is Copenhagen, Denmark, which is undergoing a plan to establish 26 bicycle superhighways connecting the center to the outskirts of the city in an effort to become carbon neutral by 2050.

While the Green Network has its critics — based mainly upon boosting the city’s economy by using the proposed green spaces for housing and business development — supporters of the plan claim the network will boost the economy anyway by attracting the highly educated into the city. A further claim adds that Hamburgers are willing to abandon their cars for the Green Network, a rare move in a nation defined in part by their contributions to the automobile.

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72 Comments on “Hamburg to Ban Cars From City Center By 2034...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “In turn, people who would normally be in their cars could instead explore the many restaurants, parks and shops they would have otherwise may have missed, as well as enjoy activities such as swimming, biking and boating.”

    What they’ll actually do is crowd the mass transit on the way to work, which is what they were doing in the first place heading downtown. They don’t have time for boating and swimming before their meeting on Monday morning.

    I love how local governments always just assume people are driving around in their cars just for fun, with no other objective – take the cars away and they’ll find new things to do with their time. Not.

    • 0 avatar
      old fart

      Agreed

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Pretty difficult to drive a car in Hamburg’s city centre , most people use bicycles.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Agreed! This is un-American. Oh wait….

    • 0 avatar
      Lemmiwinks

      I tend to agree with this sentiment.

      However, the city center of Hamburg is not what one would normally describe as “downtown” here in the States. It is a mecca of shopping, eating, cafe patronizing, and high-end residences. That’s not to say nobody works there… someone has to staff all of those stores, but those people by and large are already taking the public transit system to work.

      Downtown Hamburg has more canals than Venice. It is not a driver-friendly environment. A large swath of the area in the picture above is already car-free.

  • avatar
    rox1

    Well, that certainly gives people plenty of time to off-load their overpriced Teutonic luxo-barges.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    “Germany’s Green Party has done much to raise public awareness about the challenge posed by global warming. Although it is a major North Sea port, Hamburg’s median temperatures have risen by 1.2C to 9C over the past 60 years.”

    Which is it, 1.9°C or 9°C, or something in-between? I have news for the Green (Red) Party: the earth hasn’t warmed in 17 years, despite a doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It’s high time we burst the bubble of the great Global Warming hoax.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      Arete

      Not sure what’s not clear about what’s written. The median temperature was 7.8°C 60 years ago, since then it has risen by 1.2°C to 9°C.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        “Hamburg’s median temperature has gone up 1.2 C (34 F) to 9 C (48 F) over the past 60 years”

        It’s unclear because it includes a conversion of 1.2 C to 34 F, which could be interpreted as temps rising from 1.2 C to 9 C, rather than rising by 1.2 C.

        I think most recognize that a rise from 1.2 C to 9 C in only 60 years did not happen, but it is still sloppy writing.

      • 0 avatar
        hglaber

        The problem is the author converted 1.2 C to a position on the F scale (34 deg above 0 F) instead of the equivalent number of degrees, which is 2.16 F. So it should read “Hamburg’s median temperature has gone up 1.2 C (2.16 F) to 9 C (48 F) over the past 60 years”

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      No hoax. Down here in Rio de Janeiro the summer is the hottest ever, and with that storms are also on a high. I wasn’t a believer of the global warming but by now it is safe to say this whole thing is turning out to be undeniable.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      First off, the temperature HAS risen on a global scale–despite your uninformed opinions to the contrary. The temperature in Hamburg has risen from a mean of 46°F to 48*F. Sure, that doesn’t sound like much, but I’m sure even you have noticed that storms coming through right now–whether they be heat waves or cold snaps, thunder, tornado, blizzard, whatever–are more extreme than they were when you were growing up. Some parts of the US are already seeing colder than usual temperatures for this winter and will soon see a MUCH colder wave come through–before the end of this month. Meanwhile, the southern hemisphere is seeing much HIGHER temperatures than usual–triggering record-breaking wildfires. Wetlands are about to get much wetter (within the next 40 years) and dry lands much dryer. They’ll make the Dust Bowl of the 1930s look like a monsoon.

      We saw how much difference simply removing civil aircraft from our skies would make back in September of ’01–pulling daytime temperatures down almost 5°F below forecast over much of the northeast. Imagine what cutting back on the emissions of millions of cars could do for the atmosphere and our temperatures.

      • 0 avatar
        halstorm

        Lol.. so what you’re saying is that getting rid of air transport would make a difference to temperatures comparable to that supposedly encountered in Hambourg due to Western and East Asian industrialization?

        No thanks. The simple fact is, places worth living in this world tend to be those where a degree or two of warming is good or irrelevant, and the remainder (Texas doesn’t need to get any hotter) have widely available air conditioning.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          In a word, yes. Getting rid of air transport would make a huge difference to temperatures. I know there are some extremists who believe those vapor trails are intentional poison trails, but even if they are, it’s not intentional. They’re burning a low-oil diesel fuel (that’s all jet fuel is, after all) and just the simple fact of pumping that hot exhaust out while disrupting the the air itself with violent compression and re-expansion along with the wake the wings and fuselage generate all have an effect on localized high-altitude air flow. Eliminating high-altitude civilian aircraft would significantly slow the effects of climate change that the vast majority of educated people recognize.

          Where are people living that one or two degrees of GLOBAL warming would benefit? What about those who are already feeling the brunt of even the slight warming we’ve already experienced? By increasing the average temperature of the global atmosphere, you put energy into the atmosphere and the waters that influence that air.

          You get wider seasonal swings where summer gets notably hotter, winter colder and more violent weather. The central plains of the United States could become a swamp again–like geology tells us existed millions of years ago. The Pacific coast could be rainforest from Los Angeles all the way up into Alaska. The east coast, already a coastal plain up to the Appalachians. half flooded with dense forest covering most of the rest. And where would mankind be? Well, if they don’t learn pretty quickly how to stem that flow, over 50% of mankind could die not only of starvation, but of wars for resources that are becoming ever more scarce. Not just fuel, but all forms of energy generation except those “green” ones will be reduced by lack of fuel or rising sea levels.

          Note I’m saying Could, not Would. If you’re conceited enough to believe that Man can adapt and overwhelm anything nature can throw at us then you WILL be a victim. If you’re open enough to realize that we CAN change it–but that we have to ACTIVELY change it, then maybe, just maybe mankind will survive.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Actually, winters were a LOT worse when I was a kid here in Maine, and worse yet when my Grandparents were kids. Please do not conflate “climate” with “weather”, it simply does not work that way for the most part.

        I agree that the world is getting warmer – there is plenty of evidence for that. And I am somewhat thankful for that since we are actually overdue for the next ice age. I’m old enough to remember when scientists were on a tear about THAT. Where I live was under 2 MILES of ice a geologic blink of an eye ago. Man may actually be contributing to it, I don’t really doubt that either. But banning every car in Europe is going to do diddly-squat about it. Banning every car on the PLANET would do diddly-squat about it. The world switching from coal to nuclear for power generation might help a little, but I doubt it.

        IMHO, we don’t know enough to know if it matters in the long run. The world has been MUCH hotter in the past, and it has been MUCH colder in the past. We are an adaptable species, humanity will survive either way. I’m not losing any sleep about it. I wouldn’t invest in any beachfront property, but that seems prudent regardless.

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    Those that once drove to the city center to dine and be entertained will probably find somewhere else more convenient to go.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Right: this isn’t a single-effect decision here. In America at least, suburbanites who go into the city do so because the good restaurants are reasonably convenient. Yet for many people, going into the city stretches the definition of convenience. So remove the #1 enabler of convenience (private travel) and going into the city becomes a huge hassle.

      Without a better product, slower delivery should mean less consumption of the product. if the products are cute downtown businesses, this may result in less traffic (of the good kind).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        If you think about it, going “downtown” to dine and be entertained often involves being nicely dressed, fixed up, etc. What do I not want to do when I’m dressed up for a nice evening? Get out of the car in the cold to get on crowded public transport, messing myself up with dirt from the streets and sidewalks, and looking wind-blown when I get to the theatre.

        Car + parking space/garage.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          Corey,
          I think you’d totally understand why being dressed to the Nines and taking public transportation to dinner or a show downtown in Europe is not mutually exclusive if you spent just one weekend in Paris or Amsterdam. I’ll use Amsterdam for an example. On my last visit, I walked by the Opera House when the performance was about to start, and members of the audience, dressed in suits, tuxes, and gowns were arriving by bicycle, and some by light rail tram. There was almost no parking for cars. Similar scene at the Central train station. Virtually no car parking, but literally thousand of bicycles; imagine your local Intl airport parking structure filled with bicycles instead of row upon row of cars. I’m not going to tell you your city is moving towards that, but it’s a very different mindset in Europe, and they’re accustomed to getting around like that. I’m a car guy, had my license since the actual day I turned 16, grew up in LA, make my living writing about cars, so in many cases, you’re preaching to the choir. Europe is in most ways very different than what you and I do here.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          You have too in Hamburg. Use Public Transport and walk maybe a Smart Car.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It’s not an American city. The “center” itself (what we would call downtown) isn’t that large, and is served by public transit.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “this may result in less traffic (of the good kind).”

        I think Hamburg is doing some realistic future planning for where to dump the unassimilables under the guise of environmental proactivism.

        According to Wiki 30% of Hamburg’s population is now migrant. Given the ethnicities involved that will only skyrocket. They need to be placed somewhere out of the way which is the very definition of a car-free zone.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Please don’t lump metropolitan Europeans with suburban Americans. Hamburg residents, Parisians, Londoners, Amsterdamers don’t have the mindset that anyplace in the city is off limits if it can’t be reached by car, that’s a pecularly American foible. Just as some American cities do, Europe has excellent public transportation from the suburbs to center-city attractions. It’s simply that Europeans take advantage of their public transportation more than us. Americans are still willing to do a 30 minute trip into the city, spend another 30 minutes looking for on-street parking, or plunk down $25-35 for a carpark lot space for four hours or less. Don’t feel sorry for the Europeans. They happen to be on to something.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It seems that these threads are magnets for those who are under the impression that every city in the world is laid out like Omaha or Kansas City.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I’m not sure a US citizen can appreciate how much better public transit is in some parts of Europe unless they have seen it. Germany, or Berlin anyway, has very effective public transit. NYC’s filthy subway does not compare.

        In defense of the car and the crowd that can’t envision this working, even in congested US cities a car can be quicker and cheaper than public transit, at least if you are carpooling. For example, if I want to go to San Francisco, even with only one passenger to split costs with it’s faster and cheaper to drive and park for $30 than it is to take the ferry (I don’t have access to BART).

        It was the same story in Boston. Transit was good if you were already in the city, but getting there is another story. Carpooling and splitting parking costs was almost always cheaper and easier than public transit.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          They also don’t understand how much more compact it is.

          If you remove the car traffic from a small popular city center that is well served by public transit and already has a high population of pedestrians, then chances are high that you’ll turn the center into even more of a destination, which is good for business. This would be a terrible idea in Phoenix or Little Rock, but it could work well in much of Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            sfvarholy

            +1

            I spent time in Cardiff, Wales UK a couple of years ago. First, it is really worth a visit.

            Second, for a city was as many people as my hometown, Columbia, South Carolina, I found it absolutely fascinating that it was absolute rural countryside once you were about 10 miles out of the city. Almost the entire population is within 10 miles of City Center.

            Third, while there were car commuters, most used the excellent rail and buses or took cabs. Other than when I travelled with a group to destinations a couple miles from City Center, I walked or hopped on a bus. And it was quick and easy to get around.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @svfarholy,
            “Third, while there were car commuters, most used the excellent rail and buses or took cabs”

            Especially the Inter Urban train to London , which goes over 100mph, is very quiet and vibration free and food and Coffee orders are bought to you.

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          In most First/Second World urban places outside of US/Canada/Australia, having a car is actually a pain and public transit is often faster, more comfortable, and cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      … or maybe take a relaxing carriage ride, hmmm?

  • avatar
    geeber

    I’m guessing that there will be plenty of revisions (read, watering it down) to this plan on the way to 2034.

    • 0 avatar
      tinoslav

      Probably. But having a car in a big European city is more an inconvenience than pleasure. Parking is terribly expensive and you can get anywhere almost as fast by public transport as by car. Most of the time I use the car only on weekends and only for trips with kids. I am able to walk to my work, grocerie store and kids school. It is great.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I doubt it. There is a big green sticker on the windshield of my car. This was put there by BMW when I did Euro Delivery back in 2011. It signifies that my car is clean enough to go into the center of any German city. They ALREADY have banned cars much older than 10 years or so from the city centers due to emissions. Banning the rest won’t make a bit of difference, and frankly, even if you drive there, there is NOWHERE to park anyway. As PCH101 said, it isn’t Omaha.

      Heck, I don’t even drive into central Boston if I am actually going there for the day. I park outside and take the T in. It’s faster and MUCH cheaper. $5 to park all day plus a couple bucks for the subway, vs. crawling in and out through traffic and paying $50+ to park. And Boston’s public transit is nowhere NEAR as good as in the same size city in Europe.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I remember as a freshman at Georgia Tech in 2000 hearing about the Institute’s plan to basically eliminate roads and car traffic from campus over a number of years. Since then, if my memory serves me correctly, they have eliminated a grand total of 2 parking lots and something like 1/4 mi of road. That parking was essentially displaced to the edges of campus into new parking decks. Bike lanes were added and campus shuttle service was improved and expanded.

    It’s a start but not much in 13+ years. I would imagine Hamburg, which is likely more ancient, dense and complex than a college, would take well into the 2030s to achieve their goal.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      When I went to the University of Connecticut in the late 90′s, there was this conversation about the place for cars on campus. At the time, parking in the center was reserved for commuter students while resident students – the ones who used their cars less frequently – parked in the hinterlands. It seemed to me – even as a car guy – that life would have been much easier for everyone if the resident students were able to park near their residences while the commuters could come and go freely from the fringes, relying on the underutilized transit system the school provided.

      I believe they ultimately eliminated or rerouted many of the roads through campus and replaced the myriad of small parking lots with a garage at the edge of the campus core.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    “In turn, people who would normally be in their cars could instead explore the many restaurants, parks and shops they would have otherwise may have missed, as well as enjoy activities such as swimming, biking and boating.”

    I hate it when I am driving somewhere and I totally miss things like restaurants and shops. If only I was biking or walking. Then I could stop right in to all the places I wasn’t planning on going. Also, I assume these will be non-motorized boating activities?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s right. And going boating, or swimming for that matter doesn’t require you to CARRY lots of things, such as towels, sunscreen, food/drink, swimsuit, etc. All great to do on public transportation.

      Lol going without a car makes you go more places, so convenient!

    • 0 avatar
      E46M3_333

      “Hey honey, let’s take in a show tonight; afterwards, we’ll swim over to that new Italian place…”
      .
      .

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    2034? I’ll put it on my calendar.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m betting we’ll see a lot more of this over time. Every large city in the world has issues with traffic congestion and the only way to resolve it will be to eliminate personally operated vehicles and instill a city-run transportation system.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Germany’s population is actually DECLINING. It dropped by 1.5 million people in the latest census, and is expected to decline by 19 percent by 2060 (to 66 million).

      It’s the same story throughout most of Europe. The population of most European countries is either declining or stagnant. (The population of Italy, for example, is also already declining.)

      Generally, fewer people mean fewer cars. Plus, Europe’s population as a whole is getting older, and older people drive less (if they drive at all).

      It seems to me that the problem of traffic congestion in European cities, at least, will correct itself, if current demographic trends continue.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        And what about the US–is that population shrinking?
        Beijing?
        Mumbai?

        Maybe, just maybe you’re right about Europe. But China and almost all the other grossly-overpopulated countries in the world have their population moving into the cities to the extent that those cities now contain as much as 3/4ths of the nations’ populations.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The figures and projections for Europe’s population growth (or lack of it) have been well known for some time now. Virtually everyone agrees that the main challenges facing European countries in the coming years are population loss, and a population that is getting older. Europe’s population trends are not based on my opinion; they are based on fact.

          This country’s population growth was stagnant in 2013. We are basically headed down Europe’s path – stagnant population growth at best, or a population loss, along with an aging population.

          All of which suggest that any problems with traffic congestion will not get worse, and will probably improve, in the coming years in this country and Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You didn’t address MY question, Geeber, you only reiterated your original argument. I even acknowledged that you could be right with what you did give–but not one word about any other region of the world did you provide.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Population growth is slowing in China, too.

            As for the “other regions” – they can do whatever they want. I really don’t care, as I have no plans to move to China or anywhere else permanently.

            I’m concerned about the United States, followed by Europe (as I have relatives in Germany). The simple fact is that population growth is not going to be a problem in either the United States or Europe in the coming years. Which suggests that traffic congestion will not be getting worse – if anything, congestion will likely lessen in the coming years in those regions.

            A very good book on these trends is “What to Expect When No One is Expecting” by Jonathan Last.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “All of which suggest that any problems with traffic congestion will not get worse, and will probably improve, in the coming years in this country and Europe.”

            That’s not on point, though. The priorities of these programs are to make the cities more livable and the ecology more sustainable. Reducing the need for (imported) oil probably isn’t far from their minds, either.

            If the population is declining, then that provides an even greater incentive to keep the cities vital. If the city is more livable, then more people will use it and want to be there, which supports local businesses and maintains the tax base. And it doesn’t hurt for employers to have employees who are happy to live there.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Vulpine
      I like public transport. I was just in Paris last year and the Metro was fantastic.

      But there is one problem, someone has to pay for it. A lot of people think public transit is cheap. But it can become more expensive than people operating small vehicles.

      I bet if Hamburg came out with a realistic idea other than banishing a personal/private transport it could be more efficient and effective.

      The UNECE vehicle harmonisation of vehicles could come up with a ‘CAFE’ idea of footprint for vehicles allowed into those parts of cities. Make the regulations more stringent than the Japanese Kei cars. Have cars that are only 1.8 metres long and 1.2 metres wide or something like that. Have small diesels of no more than 250cc to power them as well and they can’t exceed 120kmph.

      You could build cars with over 100mpgs with a very low CO2 footprint.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I won’t argue the cost differential–I have at least some idea of how much it costs to build and maintain a public transportation infrastructure. However, limited use is one of the reasons why passenger fees are so high–the costs have to be absorbed by its ridership and by public taxes. On the other hand, if you give the public a reason to WANT to ride on public transport, well higher ridership can lead to lower ticket prices and even lower taxes. As an example, Amtrak’s ridership on the NorthEast Corridor is up over 50% since fuel costs have jumped. The trains average significantly faster than the freeway system between Boston and DC with fewer of the hassles of the only slightly faster air transportation between the two terminals. And at least in the DC area, you pretty much have to board public transportation anyway to actually get into the city unless you have personal transportation already waiting. That includes the DC Metro system.

        The problem is that even with that 50% ridership jump, the rail infrastructure is so old that almost all the added income is going into rebuilding the roadbeds and buying new equipment to make the trip faster, safer and even more efficient. In other words, America’s rail infrastructure has effectively been allowed to stagnate and MOST of its passenger rail no longer exists as cars and planes could simply outrun the typical Class I railroad lines. Those Class Is love the fact that their slow, heavy, revenue freight doesn’t have to make way for the faster passenger trains–fewer stops for oncoming or following traffic means more efficiency for where the money really is for them.

        That means that any resurgence of passenger rail in the US either has to adapt to freight line speeds (averaging only about 55mph for Amtrak’s cross-country runs) or build all new, passenger-only routes using abandoned roadbeds or routing from scratch. Elon Musk’s idea of a vacuum-tube route between LA and SF forwards the idea of all-new routes run overhead where it should have minimal effect on public and private lands below, but would still present the builders with exorbitant costs to access and use that land even if they only occupy one acre per mile of actual ground covered. Generating infrastructure from scratch in today’s world is prohibitively expensive.

        The type of car you suggest for inner-city use isn’t a bad idea, but it’s still not a good one either; at best, it’s another bridge as I discussed elsewhere. European cities in particular have very narrow roadways that before the car were just as packed with bicycles. I don’t know if you ever watch UK’s Top Gear (as compared to its American spin-off) but the trio took over 12 hours just to drive through ONE city when they picked up their cars for one of their journeys. Smaller cars aren’t going to alleviate overcrowding. Another one of their trips through India proved that despite massive overcrowding, the rail system in Mumbai is STILL faster than driving the same distance on the roads.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Vulpine
          I don’t have to watch TV to ‘experience’ many things, like driving in the EU or Asia.

          I’ve done it.

          Actually driving in Thailand/Malaysia is quite a novel adventure.

          In the end I hired a plastic, which is a small 2 stroke motorbike.

          But, that can be deadly alternative.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Big Al: I was using Top Gear as a visible and verifiable reference to things of which I’m already aware. I will admit I don’t have personal experience of Germany since I left over 30 years ago after my military service, but it was bad enough there and the damage air pollution does was patently visible on their centuries-old buildings. Climate change is due to air pollution of which even CO2 is a component. And as I said before, CO2 is now a scapegoat because it is more easily measured in the atmosphere than almost any other gaseous pollutant.

            However, the only way to measure what air traffic in particular does is to observe the effects after air traffic is flat-out stopped for a period of days as was done after the attack on the twin towers in New York. Since I obviously lived through those times and worked in a way that I could experience for myself the climactic changes those 5 days after created (and were commented on by local weather forecasters) I believe personal experience in this case offers a valid viewpoint. It CAN be verified by a review of forecast temperatures during that week to measured temperatures over the United States.

            Since we are talking about driving however, my experience in Germany was that in most towns and cities–including Koln (Cologne)–their public transit systems were better thought out and more efficient than their roadway systems since the inner-city roads were designed for foot, horse and cart traffic, not motorized vehicles. Most of those streets are too narrow for two-way traffic especially when cars parked ON the sidewalks. There’s a reason that in Germany all cars had to leave their driver’s side taillamp burning even when parked for the night because they still stuck out into the roadway.

            What seems more amazing is how in many countries the rural residents have moved into the cities. Even here in the US, Albuquerque, New Mexico has grown from a compact city of a mere 50,000 people to over 500,000 residents in a mere 50 years. It is, in fact, one of the US’s fastest growing cities. Sure, we have room to expand, but what effect does that have on the local environment? Other cities around the world offer population densities in the tens-of-thousands of people per square mile. Obviously, with a density like that personally-operated CARS are a near-impossibility. It’s no wonder some of the oldest cities on Earth are working to change things even if it’s not for climactic reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Vulpine,
          My Sister was the designated Driver while my Wife and myself were passengers in our rental Peugeot 308 driving through Wales, Southern England and the Midlands. It is impossible to go quickly on those narrow British roads. Hedgerows and slate covered walls cut off your vision of anything coming the other way. You are constantly wishing you can find another A-Road or Motorway where top speeds are now 82mph.

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    I’m curious how the law makers will word the exemption from these laws for themselves.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Three words. “Authorized Vehicles Only”. That’s a very common sign to see, even here in the US.

  • avatar
    halstorm

    It’s pretty ridiculous to claim that the campaign against private transportation has anything to do with global warming or any other touchy feely cause. It is motivated by the desire by the variety of person who tends to occupy a position of power in a public transport union (who doesn’t even use public transport, and most certainly has never worked in it) to put the gutless majority under their power to call strikes.

  • avatar
    Garak

    Traffic often moves so slowly in European cities that public transit, walking or riding a bike is already a preferable alternative to driving. There’s also very little parking space. Add 20 years of rising gas prices, and most people would walk anyway.

    In short, I’d say that’s a good plan.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Danes carbon neutral???

    Gee, they have recently reduced their carbon footprint significantly.

    Shut down coal powered generators.

    They now buy electricity from the Germans…………..who make electricity from coal.

    Real smart, how much power is lost in the transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You are aware that the German energy companies are suing the German government about their arbitrary shutting down of nuclear power, aren’t you?

      No, I don’t think that nuclear is the “answer”, it’s only a middle ground–a bridge between fossil fuels and more efficient methods. There are certain types of new reactor designs that are much safer and cheaper than existing ones and, IIRC, an operating example is in use in the region (one of the cities in Norway, Finland or Denmark–I don’t remember exactly where). So far, a reactor style known as ‘Pebble Bed’ has proven safer than uranium bars and more efficient, meaning the plant doesn’t need to be re-fueled nearly as often. Storage of the depleted fuel isn’t nearly as risky and concentrated as the heavy-water baths currently suppressing over-full storage pools. The fuel itself is reputed to be Thorium; still radioactive but a lower grade that doesn’t put out as much as processed Uranium. Building such Pebble Bed Thorium reactors could easily replace every coal-fired power plant in the world and could even make industrial use of such plants possible–with excess fed into the general power network.

      As for your specific question; transmitting AC power at a high enough voltage results in relatively little loss. Typically that power is transmitted at 28,000+ volts which means that very, very little current actually flows along those big overhead lines. That voltage gets reduced at substations and reduced again at localized transformers to the levels you see in your own home. The vast majority of it gets wasted right there in your own house by devices that operate 24-hours per day, whether they be in standby mode (fortunately a trickle), operating devices (much more efficient than they used to be) and wireless rechargers (simple air-core transformers that are operating even when the rechargeable device is not on the pad. In fact, all such low-voltage devices tend to waste more energy than even your refrigerator/freezer.

      Europe and Australia (and probably anywhere else that runs on 220 voltage) have one slight advantage by not pulling their line voltage down as low as in the US. However, by running at 50 hz, they lose that advantage simply by forcing the current–the electrons themselves–to move that fraction farther before reversing, increasing loss. The differences seem to balance out in the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Hamburg is a power center for German Greens, who are losing influence nationally due to the unworkability of many of their ideas, and/or the financial and employment costs. Add a growing realization that CO2 isn’t the powerhouse greenhouse gas it’s claimed to be, and the correlation of a quiet sun and much cooler climate, and by 2034, Hamburg may be in the middle of another Maunder Minimum.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Where in the WORLD do you get your information, Loreno? Fox News?

        Quiet sun?
        Much cooler climate?

        Our sun is hardly “quiet” lately. Yes, we did have a calmer solar low period about 7 years ago, but our current solar high has already made up for it with more sunspots than the previous cycle and more M- and X-class storms. These solar storms do cause the sun to emit more heat. On top of this, CO2 and other gases and particulates in our atmosphere ARE working to hold that heat in more. As I stated elsewhere, civil air traffic alone disrupts our atmosphere enough that our climate has warmed significantly. When you realize just how many jets are flying at any given time then MAYBE you can see how that can change atmospheric energy.

        It’s not JUST CO2–that gas is a scapegoat for all the other matter getting pumped into our atmosphere. It’s the one that’s most measurable. And all the trees in the world can’t do a thing about it as long as THAT gas stays up at high altitude. You simply can’t take a ‘microscopic’ view and say, “This is the cause of Global Warming.” There are simply too many variables that are being ignored.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Vulpine, you are going to be one shocked individual when it becomes painfully obvious that global warming adherents have been playing politics:

          [“Not only is this the smallest cycle we’ve seen in the space age, it’s the smallest cycle in 100 years,” NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center research scientist David Hathaway said.]

          [Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory says the strength of magnetic field in sunspots is waning, and the sunspot cycle may disappear altogether. “If this trend continues, there will be almost no spots in Cycle 25, and we might be going into another Maunder Minimum,” he said.]

          Neither statement was reported by Fox news, but neither were they reported by the mainstream press. They’re POLITICAL news shows.

          The information is out there, but you have to go to reliable sources like NASA and the National Solar Observatory to find out what solar scientists are really seeing.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This is a classic example of how some people are prone to misuse and misunderstand information.

            A forecast about sunspots has nothing to do with the impact of excess carbon in the atmosphere. Excessive CO2 in the atmosphere will result in more extremes; if those particular expectations about solar activity are correct, then that will just make things that much worse.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Don’t you mean “IF”, Lorenzo? The ones playing politics are the ones trying to deny it.

            Quote #1: Link it. Statements taken out of context have no meaning.

            Quote #2: Link it. A single point of view needs verification. How many OTHER solar scientists agree with him?

            So far, for every ONE anti-Warming statement I’ve read from all sources, there have been dozens reporting just the opposite. Since I have almost daily newsletters come from SpaceWeather.com, such reports, if even theorized, tend to show up in my email and the vast majority of reports I get show the nearly raw science and chart very visible trends–if you know how to look.

            You see, I don’t take just one person’s word for anything. All that does is raise questions as to the validity of that individual’s data and a demand to verify it or disprove it with measured data. You also have to consider that our most sophisticated data are only a few years old–even 30 years ago our satellites couldn’t make the precise measurements they do today. Our observations of the sun itself as far as sunspot and magnetic activity itself are less than 200 years old; we really don’t know WHAT kind of cycles it has other than through study of its geological effects on our own world.

            The interesting thing is that if our Climate Change were strictly due to solar effects (which isn’t even a factor in the article above) Why haven’t our satellites measured higher outputs from the sun? Why haven’t temperature measurements made on other planets–even our moon, giving us at least 40 years of measurements–not seen a similar rise in temperature? How surprised will you be if we do go into an extended ‘solar minimum” and Earth’s atmospheric temperature continues to rise?

            There are too many proofs right on this planet that it is warming. The most obvious are the thousands of glaciers that are literally vanishing–glaciers that took thousands of years of snow pack to develop into those vast rivers of ice in nearly every alpine mountain range. Ice shelves that went unchanged around Antarctica for as long as we even knew it existed are breaking off close to shore–making icebergs hundreds of square miles in area. Sure, we’re seeing a short-term re-freeze in some areas; but what’s causing it? Why is the Polar Vortex dipping so far south now when we haven’t seen one since the ’70s?

            There are simply too many questions–too many observations–that don’t seem to make sense and to blatantly state that our climate isn’t changing and that humans haven’t had any effect is impossible to believe. Geologically speaking these changes are simply too sudden. The last time we had something this sudden happen was due to a giant meteor striking off the Yucatan Peninsula 62 million years ago. What has changed? Human population. Human technologies. Human transportation. In the last 100 years alone, mankind has effectively exploded on this world. Our population has grown to over 8 BILLION people from a relatively small few hundred millions in 1800C.E.

            Maybe you should go talk to the Aborigines in the Australian outback. They DO understand ‘cycles-within-cycles’. They may know what’s about to happen–but they’re not talking.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            pch101: yours is a classic example of jumping to conclusions because someone provided a quote without a multi-page context. I read the whole thing and quoted the conclusion. You can read the whole thing, just look it up.

            Vulpine: same thing. The quotes include the name of the scientist and his organization. If you want to disprove them, look up their work, but don’t expect others to look it up for you or provide links – this is NOT a research blog.

            Finally, I’m certain you both use mainstream media for your information, and that’s too bad. Most news organizations do a terrible job of covering science issues, and usually quote advocates of one position or another. Both warming proponents and the “deniers” are political agenda driven. They might as well be called “believers” and “apostates”, since both sides are beginning to resemble nascent religions in their arguments.

            That’s why I used quotes from reputable scientists at reputable institutions, so you can look up the research that doesn’t get notice from the advocates on either side. Research is still going on, the science will never be settled, since there are no absolutes in science – what we don’t know is a vastly larger realm than what we DO know, and only open-minded research can correct “facts” that are in error or misinterpreted for political purposes.

            Both advocates and deniers are playing fast and loose with data that’s being massaged and adjusted. if you really want original data, do some googling and get away from mainstream reports – and keep an open mind.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Lorenzo:
            Speaking of ‘jumping to conclusions’…! “I’m certain you both use mainstream media for your information…” Sorry, I as much as flat out stated that I do NOT use “mainstream media”. My newsletters come from the scientific community, from geologic to astronomy. And yes, even from the JPL itself. None of them has reported any confirmation of the data your isolated “reputable scientists at reputable institutions” offer. At least, not where Global Warming and Climate Change are concerned.

            This is why I cannot believe you.

  • avatar
    Atum

    Wow, Germany…

  • avatar
    facelvega

    My fellow Americans: you could walk across central Hamburg in maybe fifteen minutes, and there’s hardly anywhere to park there as it is. Would you want to try to park in the financial district in Manhattan, even in a garage? Didn’t think so. Also, if you want a nice dinner or stroll in Hamburg, I recommend you drive over to the Schanzenviertel, not downtown.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    First of all, Hamburg is a very nice city and I encourage all of you to visit it, when you have a chance.
    Some info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburg

    Secondly, I grew up there and have not heard anything about this. Looking for more reliable information, I find only English language articles quoting the original piece in the Independent. And a short article in a local newspaper saying that this story is a hoax.
    Link for German speakers: http://www.abendblatt.de/hamburg/article124213158/Die-Ente-von-der-autofreien-Stadt.html
    According to the article, the government has denied the story and are puzzled what gave the Independent this idea.

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      Not sure if anyone still reads this but the City government of Hamburg has now issued a press release confirming that this is a hoax.
      http://www.hamburg.de/pressearchiv-fhh/4257482/2014-01-24-bsu-keine-autofreie-stadt.html


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