Interview with Bernhard Baier, Vice Mayor of Linz and Bicycle Coordinator Rainer Doppelmair in Linz on 11 October 2016

Viktoriya Mausz was representing the citizens of Linz.

Duration: 16 min.

Kloss: How do you get people on bikes in Linz?

Baier: From my point of view in a too little extent. In Linz we have a share of cyclists of about 7%, in comparison to other cities this is a very low value. We have to adjust various screws: first, develop the bicycle path network and close gaps. Second, the needle eye Nibelungen Bridge, which is still holding back many people from crossing the Danube by bike and causing a bad feeling of safety, and of course also raising awareness. Third, we need to create more and safer bicycle parkings and better infrastructure.

Kloss: Are there concrete quantitative goals, a strategy or a concept for that?

Baier: There are individual measures, it’s not like that that nothing happens, but a comprehensive strategy is missing from my point of view, in which we would work step by step every year to receive a certain result.

Doppelmair: In the Charta of Brussels, which the City Council has signed, the City of Linz committed to increase the share of cyclists until 2020 up to 20%.

Kloss: Has the City of Linz set climate change protection goals?

Baier: Of course the City of Linz has set climate change protection goals, we know that the pollution is particular high in certain places, where we would need concrete measures. This is in competence of the Land, but the city is affected.

Kloss: A big challenge is to reduce the car traffic and the place for cars. Are there efforts concerning this?

Baier: The traffic situation is right now quite strained because of the demolition of the railway bridge, so that the traffic is concentrated on only two bridges across the Danube, namely the Nibelungen Bridge and the highway bridge. Thus the car traffic is even more concentrated, which means a more difficult situation for cyclists.

Doppelmair: There are ideas for a new bridge only for pedestrians and cyclists and to take one car lane at the Nibelungen Bridge to widen the sidewalk and bicycle lane.

Kloss: What is the future of urban mobility in Linz?

Baier: I see it more as „as well as“ than „either – or“. At present you go either by car or by bike or by public transport, in twenty years it will be more mixed. Many will go by public transport, park&ride stations to switch to public transport will work better. I see a much higher share of cyclists. The situation of the pedestrians will be much better because of less car traffic in the inner city, which will improve the situation for pedestrians as well. This would be my ideal scenario, referred to the whole city.

Kloss: Motorized traffic causes a high share of the CO2 emissions and of the total energy consumption of a city, this is why the mobility transition is so relevant.

Baier: We have a special situation in Linz: 200 000 jobs and 200.000 inhabitants – so very many commuters. This number is growing. Because of the geographical situation at the Danube a simple solution is not possible, bridges and tunnels are necessary to make big steps. This works only with complementary measures in the public transport sector. The same for the individual traffic, it needs more park&ride stations and a promotion of sustainable mobility like cycling and walking.

Kloss: Are there ideas for bicycle highways?

Doppelmair: There is the City-Bicycle Path, the main axis through the city, it’s a broad bicycle path and also a bicycle street.

Kloss: Do you ride the bike?

Baier: I ride the bike and I know the situations where are the gaps in the bicycle path network, where the cyclists are forced to sidestep or to cleave an own way. This leads often to a feeling of insecurity among people and upset car drivers, like “they are riding crosswise”. This is so kind of a hen egg problem.