When I first became familiar with Bogota’s ciclovias — the event that inspired Portland’s Sunday Parkways — I was excited by its sheer size. Unlike in Portland, Bogota (and other cities in Latin America) closes major thoroughfares, not just small residential streets during their events. The result is an event that has transcended transportation and has become firmly ensconced as a cultural institution enjoyed by millions of people each week.
Now, it looks like Germany might be headed in the same direction. On Sunday, Germans enjoyed a carfree autobahn that stretched for 40 miles. The event was part of a cultural celebration. Here’s more from BBC News (followed by a video):
“Dancing in the fast lane, the people of the Ruhr party on the motorway:
Germans have been throwing an enormous party on one of the busiest stretches of the country’s famous autobahn (motorway) network… As many as three million people turned up for a giant banquet at picnic tables along 60km (40 miles) of motorway between Duisburg and Dortmund… Party organisers said they had given away 20,000 tables to allow people to eat, drink, dance and perform plays into Sunday evening.”
And here’s a short video of the event:
Simply awesome. This event shows what’s possible when we re-imagine public space that is usually reserved only for private motor vehicles. No word yet whether some segments of the autobahn will be permanently renamed the peoplebahn.