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Transport / Mass transit

So Hamburg is turning its Autobahn into a park

Germany’s Autobahns, despite a somewhat dubious early fan (Hitler), have been praised and replicated the world over. They’re beautifully flat, and on most stretches there’s no enforced speed limit – just an “advised” one of about 80mph.

But in Hamburg, residents have become a little sick of their local motorway, and the city government’s decided to cover up a full two miles in the city centre with green space. They’ll also be widening the motorway to eight lanes to ease traffic, which will make this the widest road tunnel in Europe. Construction starts this year, and the project should be finished by 2022. 

The road cover should bring a fair few advantages to the area: 

  • It’ll greatly reduce noise pollution in nearby areas; 
  • The acres of green will go some way towards counteracting the pollution created by the road;
  • New cycle paths and pedestrian routes will make travelling across the city easier;
  • The nearby land will become more valuable as a site for new homes and businesses; 
  • And it’ll make driving on the autobahn a far less attractive proposition; as you’ll spend two miles of it underground, trapped with your own exhaust fumes.

This last point ties into the city government’s dastardly plan to make large chunks of the city car-free by 2034. It’s building a up a “green network” of walkways and cycleways across the city, which should eventually cover 40 per cent of the city’s surface. This map shows the planned green spaces and routes:

And the remaining roads? Well, we’re guessing they’ll just bury them, too.
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