A citizens’ initiative calling for a ban on private car use in central Berlin would create the largest car-free urban area in the world.
The campaign group Berlin Autofrei has taken the first step in a process known as the people’s referendum, submitting a petition with more than 50,000 signatures calling for a ban covering the 88 sq km (34 sq mile) area circled by the “S-Bahn ring” trainline – an area roughly equal in size to all the boroughs in London’s zones 1 and 2.
Nina Noblé, one of the initiative’s founders, said: “It’s as much about our immediate environment as it is about the environment at large. It’s about how we all want to live, breathe and play together. We want people to be able to sleep with their windows open, and children to be able to play in the street again. And grandparents should be able to ride their bicycles safely and have plenty of benches to take a breather on.”