The car-free banks of the Main in Frankfurt are history. After 12 months of operation, motor vehicles will soon be registered there again. Furthermore, the city will not carry out the required renovation and expansion of the cycle paths there.
The project was controversial from the very beginning. Hastily decided, without significant visions for the use of the newly won space, criticised by many: now the tragedy of the Mainufer without cars is over. According to the government in Frankfurt, the company will not be extended for a period of 12 months. Part of the project was the closure of the section between two bridges connecting the western and eastern parts of the city (Alte Brücke to Untermainbbrücke).
Particularly embarrassing and at the same time sad is the fact that the bank of the Main will now also not get new and widened cycle paths, as originally planned. Especially now, when the zeitgeist in many international metropolises inspires city planners to pay more attention to cyclists and thus make more space available, the half-hearted approach in the German banking metropolis represents a questionable counter-trend. The no to wider and modernised cycle paths on the banks of the Main is tantamount to a "traffic policy disaster", as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung calls the decision. It is also surprising, as almost 60 percent of the delegates in the city hall had already spoken out in favour of a permanent closure. For Klaus Oesterling (SPD), head of the transport department, the vote and its result is a clear sign of the desire for a car-free city centre; a project which is currently on the desks of the governing bodies in many cities around the world as a proposal.
But where does this negative development in Frankfurt, which is in contrast to the international trend, come from? In a representative survey at the beginning of 2020, about one third of the people questioned were against a permanent closure of the road section. This means that both the majority of politicians in charge and the majority of citizens are in favour of a car-free bank of the Main.
But the wish of the population of the metropolis of millions seems to be relatively unimportant to Oesterling's party comrade, Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann, at the moment - at least until the next election, when his political survival will be at stake.