A 40-mile people-bahn in Germany

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.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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another trail user
another trail user
13 years ago

awe inspiring…

9watts
9watts
13 years ago

It would be interesting to see the breakdown of costs for that event… Somehow I don’t think the German government asked locals to hold a bake sale.

Paul Tay
Paul Tay
13 years ago

Holy muthaaaaaaa o’ PEARL!

Howard Q. Bikeman
Howard Q. Bikeman
13 years ago

Would that be a Volksbahn?

jv
jv
13 years ago

Very interesting considering the history of the development of the autobahn…

If only there were some powerful, charismatic leader who could implement sweeping cultural change and develop public infrastructure for the people. oh…wait a second.

Michweek
Michweek
13 years ago

So why aren’t our Sunday Parkways this big? What is wrong with Portland and the United States that we can’t enjoy something this large like this?

West Cougar
West Cougar
13 years ago

Meh. Portland has had this for years. Unfortunately it’s Dick Bowman’s personal party. You have to pay for admission and only he gets to pick the tunes.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
13 years ago

Interstate Bridge party…for its 100th birthday?

Clarence
13 years ago

Oh man, let’s shut down the FDR and celebrate something, anything, even Lindsey Lohan going to jail!