Inner cities are having a hard time all over Germany - the pressure of online trade, but also the trend towards working from home and last but not least planning mistakes in the past, in which everyday life was banned from the inner city area, lead to vacancies and desertification. In Hamburg there is also the fact that in addition to the classic city center there is Hafencity, where a huge shopping and entertainment center is currently being built in Überseequartier. At a round table chaired by Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD), measures were discussed that should give the city center a better future again.
Hamburg's urban development senator Karen Pein (SPD) summarized the results found at the round table in one sentence: "We are reducing the barrier effect of traffic on Mönckebergstraße, upgrading Steinstraße, connecting the Kontorhaus district better on foot and thus increasing the attractiveness of the entire city center. In concrete terms, this means the following measures: Several bus lines will be relocated from Mönckebergstraße to Steinstraße in order to make Hamburg's most famous shopping street, the "Mö", more attractive. However, bus lines will also remain there, and private car traffic is not allowed there anyway.
For Steinstraße, this means that the bus lane that has been set up on a trial basis to the west and the cycle lane will remain in place. Which in turn means that there is now permanently less space for car traffic. This applies even more clearly to a section of Steinstraße that will become a municipal route. The section between Jakobikirchhof and Domplatz will in future be reserved for buses, taxis, bicycles and delivery services. This should increase the quality of stay there, but also make the connection to the Kontorhausviertel and further to the Speicherstadt and Hafencity more attractive.
And finally, it should be possible in the city center to get permits for suitable events more easily and to bring more life into the district. There should be a "fast track" at the Mitte district office, decisions on applications are available there within a few days - at least that's the plan of this small administrative revolution.
In any case, Mayor Tschentscher believes that the overall effect will be positive: “The city center is Hamburg’s calling card and should be seen as an attractive place for social life and retail. To do this, the city center must continuously adapt to the trends and requirements of the time," he said, adding that the measures had also been "carefully planned".
The Chamber of Commerce, which had recently presented its own inner city concept, gave cautious approval, but with one demand: "The connection between the inner city and HafenCity remains a priority for Hamburg's economy: a solution is needed here so that the Willy brand -Strasse no longer separates the two quarters.” The Chamber therefore welcomes the fact that the Senate is also dealing with the “urgently needed redesign of Steinstrasse”. Chamber President Norbert Aust: "The concerns of the local companies must be appreciated, for which good accessibility is existential. The results of the cited traffic study must be made transparent before decisions are made on the changes.”
The Hamburg FDP is even less impressed. The deputy state chairwoman Katarina Blume sees “no big hit” and would like the city center to emphasize the maritime character of the city more, become “unique”, but which older people in particular should also be able to reach by car. The CDU is also not impressed. “The mere displacement of individual traffic from a part of Steinstrasse does not increase its attractiveness in any way. After this long discussion, that's simply not enough," she says, referring to her own concept, which above all offers an increase in the attractiveness of the Binnenalster through new promenades. With regard to restrictions on car traffic, David Erkalp, spokesman for trade and tourism in the CDU parliamentary group, says: "SPD and Greens apparently want the entire city center to degenerate into a province."