Mariahilfer Straße may become pedestrian area

Vast parts of Vienna’s busiest shopping street could become car-free zones in the next few years, Social Democratic (SPÖ) Vienna traffic councillor Rudolf Schicker has announced.Schicker said today (Weds) experts were set to check which parts of the Mariahilfer Straße – which divides the city’s Mariahilf and Neubau districts – could be freed from traffic. The SPÖ official added he expected results of the examination by next spring.”People are crossing the road everywhere already. A pedestrian area is the best option for the future, I think,” he said.Schicker stressed various aspects must be considered such as whether the current routes of public transport buses could be sensibly changed.Greens Neubau district chief Thomas Blimlinger said he was stunned by Schicker’s announcements. Blimlinger said: “The SPÖ blocked all our ideas for a change to the traffic situation on Mariahilfer Straße for years. Now, shortly before city elections, it makes promises.”Blimlinger added he was nevertheless happy about Schicker’s will to make changes.The debate about the traffic situation on Mariahilfer Straße is expected to intensify over the coming weeks as provincial elections are due on 10 October.Other issues – immigration, crime, excessive spending on controversial construction projects – are however tipped to dominate the parties’ campaigns.