The walkway network, “20 grüne Hauptwege“, in Berlin, is a product of the cooperative effort between public administration, citizens, and organizations. This project is one of a kind in Germany in both scale and concentration. Not only does it encompass a total of approximately 500 kilometres of footpaths, promenades, pedestrian-friendly routes through greened urban environments, and other walkways, but also focuses upon pedestrian crossing facilities. The existence of safe and convenient pedestrian crossings is of fundamental importance in the establishment of a walkway network intended to serve the everyday and recreational mobility of the city’s residents and its guests. It is for this reason that FUSS e.V. Fachverband Fußverkehr Deutschland (the German Pedestrianisation Association) has conducted a weak-point-analysis (“Pedestrian Audit”) including about 825 pedestrian crossings.
The intention of this study was to examine whether these crossings comply with current rules and standards and whether they offered the highest possible degree of safety within the context of local traffic conditions. Other considerations include whether pedestrians were provided an attractive and comfortable environment and whether crosswalks were placed along the most direct route. Based on the assumption of a high percentage of mobility-impaired persons, barrier-free accessibility was awarded high priority.
Although FUSS e.V. reaffirms a genuine increase in the degree of awareness paid to the concerns of pedestrians on the part of the cityadministration, an initial examination of the crossing facilities within a greater context has revealed numerous hazards and hindrances. Within the area taken into consideration, circa 1.300 recommendations were formulated; specifically, an average of 3 proposals per kilometre of network. An initial estimate of the recommended measures amounts to an average cost factor of circa 10.000,- Euro per kilometre of walkway. The implementation and further development of Berlin’s “20 grünen Hauptwege” is a well defined objective of the state government and is certain to become a highlighted characteristic in the marketing of the city in the foreseeable future. This goal can only be reached if the quality of recreational walkways and traffic zones are steadily improved in equal measure.