Canton does not want a bus / bike path in the center of Lucerne

In the city of Lucerne, great expectations were awaited for a new bus / bicycle lane on the Löwenplatz. But now the canton sees the realization for the time being. City politicians are angry.

Robert Knobel

In the summer of 2017 VBL buses and cyclists had their own lane on the alpine road for a short time. The city Lucerne wants to introduce this. Picture: Corinne Glanzmann (Lucerne, July 20, 2017)

In the summer of 2017 VBL buses and cyclists had their own lane on the alpine road for a short time. The city Lucerne wants to introduce this.
Picture: Corinne Glanzmann (Lucerne, July 20, 2017)

If you drive in the direction of the city center during rush hour from Löwenplatz, you should be on good terms. The traffic is rather chaotic: VBL buses, travel cars and cars block each other in three lanes, and from all sides cyclists zoom in, trying to roam the vehicles on the left and right. Now, however, there are plans to send traffic on the alpine road in more orderly paths. Specifically, the intention is to reserve one of the three lanes for buses and bicycles.

In the summer of 2017 the city had made a test drive – the correct lane was marked during the renovation of the pier as a combined bus / bicycle lane. As part of the general concept of the city of Lucerne, this measure should certainly have been introduced.

For the time being, rail reduction is too difficult for the canton

But the city took the bill without the canton that owns the alpine road. He does not want to realize the conversion of the lane for the time being. The measure ultimately ultimately means a reduction of the capacity for car traffic, which then has only two lanes left. According to the canton's argument, traffic on the main axes should decrease by 5 percent during peak hours to cope with this reduction. This is precisely the goal of the total traffic concept. This must be achieved in particular by means of the dosing of traffic lights, which limit the traffic in the streets in the neighborhood when the capacity of, say, the Schweizerhofquai is exhausted.

But the canton is apparently not sure whether the metering lamps also achieve the desired effect. Only when the traffic has actually decreased, the bus / bicycle lane can be realized on the Alpenstrasse. "The success of the project on the Zurich and Alpine roads turned out to be essentially in the reduction of traffic by five percent", explains Andreas Heller, head of the Transport Technology department of the cantonal Transport and Infrastructure department. In about a year of monitoring they wanted to see how the dosing system works. Only then could further measures to promote public transport be projected and carried out "purposefully and efficiently".

Return carriage because of closure north?

These plans are bad in the city of Lucerne. "The canton simply tilts the Alpenstrasse bus and cycle path from the concept, although the safety gains for cyclists and the improvement of the traffic flow have been clearly proven," says SP City Councilor Mario Stübi. CVP traffic politician Roger Sonderegger also finds the arguments of the canton "almost absurd". After all, motorists should be satisfied with two lanes in the rest of the city center. Only the short stretch between Löwencenter and Luzernerhof consists of three lanes. The removal of a number is also possible with the current traffic volume without any problems, says Sonderegger and adds: «It seems dubious, why at the moment such a project should be postponed, which had already been agreed.» He could not suspect that it is a return coach from the canton to the city, because it defends itself against the buckle to the north.

City council wants to go further

Although the city council responsible for traffic, Adrian Borgula (Greens) stresses that the general traffic concept is a collaboration between the canton, the city, the LucernePlus and the transport network. Yet he also says: "The measures must be supported by all partners.The city of Lucerne regrets that the measures on the roads Alpine and Zurich can not be realized simultaneously with the others." The bus / bicycle lane on the Alpenstrasse would improvements "for cyclists, public transport and road safety. The city will now work to ensure that the measure can be implemented as quickly as possible, at least in a second step.

The traffic concept of the city of Lucerne is currently open to the public – as stated without the new lane on the alpine road. The other measures, in particular the dosing lamps, must be implemented from 2019 (we have reported). The planned measures for 2019 cost a total of 2.5 million francs. In addition to the city of Luzern, the canton and the federal government also pay for their implementation.

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