The buzzword “Brussels Square 2.0” was heard very often in the debate between politics and neighborhood right at the scene of the action, on Neusser Platz corner Roeckerathplatz in front of the entrance to the Agneskirche. Should the area around the square become car-free, as proposed by the Greens? Support for this was limited that evening.
“When it’s nice and cozy here on Neusser Platz, it’s not primarily the neighborhood that goes there, but the people from outside – and those who live here only suffer. That has nothing to do with the quality of life,” said one resident. Another guest, himself a city planner, pointed out that traffic calming alone could do a lot to make the area safer and more liveable. “Cars drive through here much too quickly, even on the traffic-calmed streets. Through traffic comes along here, which would not be necessary and could instead drive via Riehler Straße. It’s really wide.”
Another resident seconded: “I don’t understand why a Brussels square 2.0 has to result if car traffic is reduced here. It is up to us citizens to make suggestions. We don’t have to open three new kiosks in the square, we can also do things like urban gardening.”
Greens want to block streets around Neusser Platz in Nippes
In the summer of 2021, the Greens first presented their idea to the city center district council of significantly enlarging and upgrading Neusser Platz in front of the Agneskirche by blocking the adjacent streets for motorized vehicles. Through traffic would be diverted, for example via Riehler or Krefelder Straße. Since then, the topic has heated up the minds in the Veedel considerably.
Now the interest group (IG) Neustadt-Nord / Villen-Veedel around Reinald Korte and Kurt Metelmann, which is critical of the plans, invited to an exchange with the political parties; around 100 guests provided an attractive setting. Moderated by Michael Wurzer, a large political group debated, including CDU Council faction Vice Teresa De Bellis-Olinger and her party colleagues Florian Weber and Günter Leitner, Marcellinus Weiß and Florian Schuster (SPD), FDP Council faction leader Ralph Sterck with party colleagues Marc Urmetzer, Bettina Wolff (Volt) and Sabine Kader (DieParty), at the standing tables in front of the church entrance with the guests. Despite being invited by the IG, Bündnis 90/Greens were not represented by delegates.
During the 90-minute, multi-faceted debate, one thing quickly became clear: in addition to the feared party hotspot with noise, dirt and wild peeing, the second main concern was that in the event of a closure, through traffic would seek secret routes through the residential streets. And in view of the limited municipal funds, it would first be Ebertplatz that would be upgraded.
“I don’t see this place as a top priority,” says Schuster. And a little change – about 30 km/h, more space for pedestrians and cyclists and more greenery – seemed to be able to win a majority among guests and politicians that evening. “We don’t want to calm the square to death that nothing is happening here anymore. We want people to meet here, families. That’s all supposed to happen. It’s about approaching the design of the square in such a way that it is accepted, but does not become a party mile,” summarized Olinger.
Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger by www.ksta.de.
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