"You can't please everyone"

"You can't please everyone"

Subway, drones, waterways: transport senator Manja Schreiner visits the VBKI

Text Sebastian Thomas | Head of Communication & Marketing


It was a first-hand overview of a Berlin policy area that is characterized by conflict situations like no other and often only functions as a zero-sum game: transport policy. At the VBKI, transport senator Manja Schreiner explained how she intends to tackle and overcome the numerous challenges.

After a welcome from VBKI Managing Director Ute Weiland, the head of department gave an insight into her company's current agenda. According to the former head of the FG Bau, the big vision is less important at the moment; the first priority is to "sort out the many construction sites". These include the mobility law passed by the previous senate, for which a draft amendment - controversial within the coalition partners - has been submitted by the CDU parliamentary group. In this context - and in front of the more than 100 members and friends of the VBKI present - Ms. Schreiner referred to the regulation of commercial traffic and in particular to the planned establishment of delivery and loading zones. However, it was also clear that more loading zones would mean fewer parking spaces. Schreiner: "You can't please everyone".

"We have to make sure that we bring innovation into the city."

Manja Schreiner | Senator for Mobility, Transport, Climate Protection and the Environment of the State of Berlin 


With a view to the mobility transition - Berlin wants to be climate-neutral by 2045 at the latest - the transport senator is focusing on offers rather than bans. "You can't demand that people give up without offering alternatives." However, even superficially straightforward issues such as increasing the frequency of public transport services pile up the challenges. As easy as it is to demand a 5-minute interval instead of a 10-minute interval, such a demand is difficult to implement in practice. Schreiner spoke of a "Herculean task", which is further exacerbated by the lack of staff in public transport.

The CDU-led Senate is increasingly focusing on the construction of the subway to improve public transport services. However, the senator reports that no plans have been made at all in the past 7 years. When she took office, there was only one person in her administration of 1500 employees who was responsible for the topic.

In order to solve the many challenges in the mobility sector, the Senator wants to explore new avenues: "We have to make sure that we bring innovation into the city." In addition to the idea of a maglev train, this also includes the topic of "drone transportation" or the increased use of Berlin's waterways. However, she has repeatedly found that innovative projects regularly get bogged down in the regulatory jungle. "We don't manage to get beyond project status in Berlin," said the Senator with regard to autonomous driving, for example. It is "crazy" how complex some topics are.

In the subsequent discussion, moderated by the two chairmen of the VBKI Mobility Committee - Simon Batt-Nauerz and Dominique Eichner - a number of other topics were raised. The discussion revolved around the establishment of Park&Ride parking spaces in Berlin's surrounding areas (14 are currently being planned), the car sharing offer in the outer districts (fixed parking spaces instead of free-floating vehicles), construction site coordination in times of transformation ("must ensure good traffic flow on the main axes"), the further expansion of the charging infrastructure for e-vehicles, the reduction of the e-scooter offer, and what can be learned from Amsterdam (digital parking space management), Tallinn or Barcelona (superblocks). Overall, according to Manja Schreiner, a pragmatic and not an ideological view is needed to achieve progress. "This is especially true in a political field that is more emotional than a soccer match." 


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