There will be no diesel driving bans in Düsseldorf. Gate traffic lights and 30 km/h zones are to regulate traffic in the city on the Rhine in the future. A focus is also to be placed on bus and bicycle traffic. Thus, the last dispute about diesel driving bans in North Rhine-Westphalia has been settled.
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and the city of Düsseldorf have ended their dispute over an impending diesel driving ban. They agreed on a new package of measures to tackle nitrogen oxide pollution in the city at several levels in order to comply with the EU limit values of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.
On the particularly heavily polluted traffic axes Merowinger Straße and Corneliusstraße, traffic is to be regulated in future by gateway traffic lights. These should reduce the number of vehicles by up to 21%. In addition, speed limits of 30 km/h are to be set up on various main roads and in the vicinity of kindergartens and nursing homes. This is intended to reduce both air pollution and noise pollution from traffic. Another part of the measures concerns local public transport: in future, buses are to travel faster through priority switching and thus become more attractive. The city also wants to improve the cycle paths. In addition, Düsseldorfers will have to pay more for parking in the future. The free parking spaces in the city centre will be abolished. Illegal parking will also be more strictly controlled and punished.
All measures will be recorded in a new air pollution control plan so that they are legally binding. To make sure that the measures are effective, another 3 measuring stations will be installed.
Those responsible and the DUH hope that the package of measures will lead to a reduction in traffic overall and increase the attractiveness of buses and trains as well as cycling. Where there is still a lot of driving, citizens can be protected through speed reduction.
Certainly, diesel driving bans in Düsseldorf could have quickly provided relief. However, the measures that have now been adopted could also be successful without bans. It remains to be seen, however, how quickly gateway traffic lights and 30 km/h zones can be installed and how consistently the measures are actually implemented. Tempo-30 zones and the priority given to bus lanes and cycle paths will certainly encounter a lot of political headwind from motorists.
The additional measuring stations will show whether the new clean air plan can deliver what it promises. Or, alternatively, reveal that there are even more places with nitrogen oxide levels that are too high!