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Platz für Wien - Space for Vienna

Our 18 demands for a city with climate justice, traffic safety and high quality of living

The civil society initiative „Platz für Wien“ (Space for Vienna) aims to collect signatures from 57,255 people living in Vienna by the date set for the city’s local government elections in 2020. This equals the number needed to initiate a “Volksbegehren” (petition for a referendum) under the Viennese city constitution. The demands will be presented to the “Petitionsausschuss”, i.e. the petitions committee of the local government, the local parliament (“Gemeinderat”) and to the district representations (“Bezirksvertretungen”).

The signatories are calling on the Gemeinderat and the Bezirksvertretungen of the City of Vienna to commit to implementing these 18 demands and to ensure sufficient staff and budget to do so. This is to be realized through decisions in the Gemeinderat and by the Bezirksvertretungen. Further, it is to be accompanied by mobility concepts to be drawn upwith public participation.

The demands worked out in detail which we are presenting here, are to be implemented over a period of ten years: From the Vienna local elections in 2020 to 2030.

Language

Attractive streets for walking and dwelling

1) 100 low-traffic residential areas with a high quality for dwelling

Many residential areas in Vienna are used for cut-through driving bycars. This brings noise, emissions and danger. The residents are not finding enough livable space, social contacts are suffering, children cannot move around on their own in their neighbourhoods, or “Grätzl” as they are known in Vienna.

Therefore, we are demanding to calm traffic in 10 residential areas per year by 2030:

  • Reducing through-traffic, creating green areas and seating
  • Reducing surface parking, instead creating more loading areas and parking spaces for people with disabilities

This way we are relieving residential areas of through-traffic, we achieve more security and an increase in the quality of life by reducing car traffic as well as climate adaptation through more greenery. Local accessibility for residents and visitors will remain. More loading areas will help commercial transport. These areas can be modeled on the internationally known concept of “Superblocks”.

2) 60 km pedestrian zones and shared space

The public space hardly offers any quality of dwelling for pedestrians. Cars have been given the most space on streets: Traffic lanes are making up 67% though the share of car traffic is only 30%. This creates a massive imbalance between frequency of use and assigned space. Pedestrians and cyclists are left at a disadvantage. Vienna only has 21 km of pedestrian zones and 3 km of “Begegnungszone”, the “shared space” with equal rights for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. On average only 300 m of these spaces are created every year.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 6 km pedestrian or shared space per year by 2030:

  • No long-term parking in shared space
  • Opening both pedestrian zones and shared space for cyclists

These measures are aimed, for example, at shopping streets and road sections which are already used a lot by pedestrians and cyclists. They help to triple the livable, low-traffic street space available outside of residential areas by 2030.

3) Making sure 1,000 km of sidewalks have a passage width of 2 m minimum

38% of sidewalks in Vienna are less than 2 m wide. This means 1,457 km of sidewalks fall short of the minimum width the city itself had put down as a guideline in its master plan for traffic in 2003. Road signs, traffic light posts, lamp posts, hydrants, meter boxes, billboards, bins and newspaper holders are placed on sidewalks so as not to get in the way of parking or moving car traffic.

Additionally, some parking spaces were moved onto sidewalks to maximize the available parking space further infringing the space for pedestrians. Angle and diagonal parking is hindering safe and barrier-free crossing.

Therefore we are demanding to render 100 km sidewalks each year up to the target year of 2030 with a net width of 2 m:

  • Without intermittent infringement by obstacles
  • Move sidewalk parking to the traffic lane or remove it
  • Remove angle and diagonal parking spaces or convert them to parallel parking spaces

This way we achieve a major improvement for pedestrians. It will be much easier for people with prams or wheelchairs. This measure brings appeal, safety, improved lines of sight and more possibilities for crossing as well as accessibility for people with visual disabilities or those with reduced mobility.

4) Planting 15,000 trees in public streets 

n the summer the city is heating up more and more every year because of climate change. Particularly in heavily built-up areas with few green areas. Cars and asphalt are storing heat which is having a negative health impact – not only on elderly people. Sealed surfaces increase the likelihood of flooding by heavy rain which has also become more frequently because of climate change.

Therefore we are demanding the planting of 1,500 new trees per year on and around public streets until 2030.

  • Additional seating in the shade, designing public spaces with quality for dwelling (“cool oasis”)
  • Prioritizing according to heat vulnerability as identified by the heat map of the City of Vienna
  • Alternatively creating other green areas or unsealing areas where trees cannot be planted because of the street installations

This way we create a cooler city with more quality for dwelling and better air quality. Trees and green areas in the public street space will create relief on hot days, particularly for children and the elderly. It will also render walking more pleasant.

5) Create 10,000 seating areas in public space

Comfortable seating (without requirement to consume anything) at regular intervals play an integral part for a barrier-free city space attractive for all parts of the population. Without them it is difficult, especially for elderly people, to run errands on foot and take part in public life.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 1,000 seating areas annualy until 2030.

  • Equipping the built-up city space with public seating areas every 100 m – prioritizing neuralgic points which are currently lacking any seating
  • Where possible accompanied by planting trees according to demand 4)

This is how we achieve an extensive coverage of the street space with seating areas. It will facilitate mobility for people with reduced mobility. The public space will become more attractive and will invite people to linger – particularly in combination with reduced traffic.

Attachment

Details and information on this package of demands “Attractive streets for walking and dwelling” “Attraktive Straßen zum Gehen und Verweilen” (PDF in GERMAN)

Safe mobility for children

6) Create 350 car-free school zones

The daily school commute is often a dangerous obstacle course for children. Too many parents are driving their kids to school in cars. Children have too little space for social interaction as traffic is not calmed in and around school areas. So far, the danger points identified from the City of Vienna’s school route plans (compiled in cooperation with AUVA) have not been sufficiently adapted. Out of the 500 compulsory schools in Vienna only 150 are situated in low-traffic areas in residential streets or have a car-free space in front of the entrance.

Therefore we are demanding the realisation of 35 car-free school forecourts per year until 2030.

  • Keeping school areas in secondary roads permanently car-free
  • On main roads, at least widening of sidewalks in front of the entrance or creating car-free public areas in side roads
  • Temporary car-free school roads (“Schulstraßen”) as interim solutions
  • Attractive design of space in front of the entrance with seating areas and shading
  • Sufficient bike and scooter parking

A nice school environment and safe school routes allow self-determined, safe mobility for children without “parent taxis” – also off school routes.

7) On 800 km of streets declare maximum 30 km/h speed limit

On around a third of the 2,800 km of streets in Vienna there is still a speed limit of 50 km/h. But there are also residents on these streets and people need to cross the street there. Speeds of 50 km/h in inner-city areas are endangering all road users. High speed reduces the willingness to stop and increases the braking distance. This makes it a major factor for accident frequency and severity of collisions. Additionally higher car speeds increase noise and emission of pollutants.

Therefore we demand to calm 80 km streets to a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h per year until 2030:

  • Structural modifications with speed bumps where necessary
  • If needed exempt public transport (bus & tram) from the 30 km/h speed limit

Speed limit 30 considerably reduces the braking distance of cars as well as the likelihood and severity of accidents. Additionally it facilitates crossings for pedestrians and cyclists and improves cycling in mixed traffic. On top of that traffic noise is reduced, increasing quality of living for residents.

8) 800 additional cycling courses for elementary pupils

Not enough children in Vienna are acquiring sufficient cycling skills to move around the city safely. Only one fifth of children around the age of 10 get the chance to take a voluntary cycling test. Vienna is lacking cycling courses and suitable practice courses. But learning to cycle is not only important for children to develop their motor skills, it is also formative for their mobility behaviour later on in life.

Therefore we are demanding 160 additional cycling courses for elementary schools annually up to 2025:

  • This creates a cycling course offering for all Viennese children in the last year of elementary school enabling them to take the voluntary cycling test and to ride in the city.
  • For this, 6 practice areas spread over the whole city have to be created annually up to 2025. There, children, parents and teachers can find the right conditions to train cycling before going into actual traffic

Cycling routine and knowledge of traffic rules are very important for riding in city traffic. It also gives children the chance to become self-confident road users. Taking the cycling test allows children from the age of 9 to ride in the city without being accompanied by an adult, e.g. for getting to school.

Attachment

Details and information on this package of demands “Safe mobility for children” “Sichere Mobilität für Kinder” (PDF in GERMAN)

Uninterrupted and safe cycling infrastructure

9) Create 300 km safe cycle paths on main roads

In Vienna there are currently 160 km non-connected cycle paths on around 560 km of main roads. These cycle paths are supplemented by “Mehrzweckstreifen”, i.e. multi-use lanes, or cycle lanes which are very often way too narrow and dangerous. Vienna is lacking an uninterrupted network of safe and comfortable cycling routes. Car doors being suddenly opened and cars overtaking too closely are major safety risks for cyclists. In order to establish the bicycle as an every-day means of transport for everyone we need a comprehensive expansion of cycling routes.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 30 km of separated cycle paths or protected bike lanes along main roads per year.

  • Of high quality and sufficiently wide (see attachment)
  • Affected intersections are to be designed safely and signposting for routing has to be ensured

Separated cycle paths increase both the perceived as well as the actual safety for cyclists. Conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists often emerging on mixed-used paths can be avoided. As for creating a city suitable for children: Safe cycle paths also allow our offspring to be active traffic participants.

10) Create 50 km of cycle streets

There are massive gaps in the Viennese cycling network. “Fahrradstraßen”, i.e. cycle streets on secondary streets are an important addition to cycling infrastructure on main roads to create a safe network. In January 2020, there were only eight cycle streets in Vienna. Most of them are located at the fringes of the city, although these “Fahrradstraßen” are a simple and cheap way to create a comfortable environment for cyclists.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 10 km of “Fahrradstraßen” annually by 2035

  • Right-of-way on cycle streets except for crossing public transport and main roads
  • Prioritisation of the cycle streets according to school proximity and network effects
  • For the safety of cyclists: safe crossings with good visibility
  • Structural measures to prevent cars from driving through

Cycle streets are the ideal cycling environment for all age groups. Well-designed “Fahrradstraßen” bring a higher quality of living and dwelling to residential areas which also benefits the residents. For children, cycle streets are the best environment for learning to ride in a safe zone and close to home.

11) Open 375 km one-way streets for cyclists

Out of the more than 800 km one-way streets in Vienna only 350 km are opened for cyclists to go in both directions. This means that – particularly on shorter rides within the “Grätzl” – cyclists often have to make disproportionally long detours.

Therefore we are demanding the opening of 75 km of one-way streets for cyclists per year until 2025.

This way we are achieving a city-wide opening of one-way streets wherever this is possible given the structural conditions and where it makes sense from a traffic point of view, i.e. on 90% of one-way streets. Cyclists will then have to make fewer detours and cycling gains appeal.

12) Create 110 km cycle highways

The cycling network in Vienna has gaps. The different cycling infrastructures are of varying quality. This makes it difficult to go longer distances for every-day commutes or errands. The City of Vienna is aware of this and has therefore created a concept for 13 cycle highway corridors totalling around 140 km. Currently only around 30 km meet the quality standards laid down for such cycle highways. None of the corridors is fully realised.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 11 km of cycle highways annually until 2030

  • High quality: wide cycle lanes or “Fahrradstraßen”, direct routing, right-of-way at intersections (exception for public transport) and good signage
  • This way the 13 planned corridors will be realised

With the cycle highways the bike will become an attractive alternative for commuters. This is not only positive for the climate and the environment but also from a health perspective. It also eases the burden on public transport which is at its capacity limits during rush hours.

13) Create 72,000 bicycle parking spaces

A shortage of bicycle parking spaces at which a bike can be safely parked are among the complaints mentioned most often by cyclists in Vienna. For the growing number of cyclists there are not enough parking spaces in public spaces. But parking bicycles is very space efficient: Up to 10 bikes fit onto one car parking space.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 7,200 bicycle parking spaces annually until 2030

  • Firmly anchored metal racks at street level, sufficiently wide to park cargo bikes
  • Prioritisation according to public institutions, shopping locations, educational institutions
  • This will create sufficient parking for the aspired aim of doubling cycle traffic

Only with sufficient, readily accessible and good-quality bicycle parking spaces, cycling will be respected as fully equal part of traffic in Vienna. Bicycle parking spaces help to keep bikes in order and prevent theft.

 

Attachment

Details and information on this package of demands “Uninterrupted and safe cycling infrastructure” “Durchgängige und sichere Radinfrastruktur” (PDF in GERMAN)

Safe intersections

14) Redesign 250 intersections to make them safe

Very often cycle lanes end before intersections and cyclists are suddenly finding themselves in mixed traffic together with motor vehicles – at points where cyclists need the most protection. Intersections are the weakest link in the traffic network. 60% of collisions involving motor vehicles and cyclists happen at intersections. Pedestrians and cyclists often do not have enough space for waiting at intersections to be sufficiently protected from turning trucks or cars.

Therefore we are demanding the redesign of 25 intersections annually to create safe intersections

  • Orientation along the design of “protected intersections” from the Netherlands
  • Prioritisation according to frequency of accidents and school routing maps

Safely redesigned intersections offer better protection for pedestrians and cyclists against accidents. The risk of becoming the victim in a collision with a car is significantly reduced. Conflicts between road users are minimised because of the disentanglement in the area of the intersection.

15) 500 pedestrian and cyclist friendly traffic light phases

Pedestrians and cyclists often have to wait a long time to get a green signal at traffic lights as these are programmed to guarantee fluid car traffic. Green phases can be too short to allow children, elderly people or those with reduced mobility to cross comfortably. Vienna has a major potential of traffic lights that can be removed as there are more than 100 traffic lights in zones with a 30 km/h speed limit. In these areas traffic safety can be better ensured by traffic calming measures.

Therefore we are demanding 40 pedestrian and cyclist friendly traffic light phases at 50 intersections per year until 2030

  • Shorter waiting periods and longer green phases for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Phased traffic lights (“green wave”) for cyclists on cycle highways
  • Removal of demand-based traffic lights
  • Reducing the number of traffic lights, including 10 traffic lights annually in residential areas

With longer green phases and shorter periods spent at an intersection waiting or crossing, pedestrians and cyclists gain a significant amount of security and comfort. Reducing the number of traffic lights in residential areas also saves maintenance costs.

16) 125 safe crossing points along main roads

On main roads car traffic is usually prioritised. Particularly pedestrians and cyclists are massively restricted when wanting to cross these main roads wherever the distance between zebra crossings or traffic light crossings is too long. When the next safe crossing is 300 m far, this means a detour of 10 minutes on foot.

Therefore we are demanding the creation of 25 safe crossings over main roads each year until 2030.

  • Maximum of 200 m between safe crossings along main roads
  • Fixing danger spots at zebra crossings along main roads

This measure significantly increases road safety on Viennese streets.

Attachment

Details and information on this package of demands “Safe intersections” “Sichere Kreuzungen” (PDF in GERMAN)

Multimodality via improved interchanges

17) Rendering 1,000 public transport stops pedestrian and cyclist friendly

Many stops for trams and busses in Vienna are currently not very attractive in their design. Around half of them do not have weather protection. There is not enough space for waiting, passing or riding past. Many of the around 5,300 stops for busses and trams as well as the 109 underground stations have major potential to be intermodal changing hubs to change from bikes to public transport.

Therefore we are demanding the redesign of 100 public transport stops per year until 2030

  • Including sufficient space for waiting, seating and weather protection as well as bicycle parking
  • Underground stations, train stations andtram hubs should be fitted with a sufficient number of bicycle parking spaces and offer sharing services

This will render the use of public transport more attractive for people waiting as well as for cyclists wanting to use several means of transport. Conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists at currently narrow spots at public transport stops will be defused.

18) 125 stations for public bike sharing

The existing stations for public bike sharing managed by Citybike Wien are currently not covering the whole city area. Also, at a current average distance of 700 m they are too far apart and cargo bikes are not yet part of the public bike sharing scheme.

Therefore we are demanding to establish 25 bike sharing stations per year until 2025 in order to more than double the current number.

  • Densification and expansion primarily at public transport stops
  • Fitted with new, up-to-date bikes
  • Integrating cargobikes into the sharing system

A better coverage by bike sharing systems – as already available in other European cities – makes bike sharing more attractive for a larger number of people and a greater variety of rides and errands – or indeed as a way to get to public transportation.

Attachment

Details and information on this package of demands “Multimodality via improved interchanges” “Multimodalität durch attraktives Umsteigen” (PDF in GERMAN)

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