Greens want to ban cars from Vienna’s main roads

Vienna’s Greens are delving further into controversy with a new no-traffic concept.

Viennese newspapers report today (Weds) that Green Party Vice Mayor Maria Vassilakou wanted to ban car traffic from some of the city’s busiest roads next summer. The left-winger allegedly wants a different street at the free disposal for cyclists, pedestrians and inline skaters.

The Social Democrats (SPÖ), who have cooperated with the Greens in the city parliament since last year, are understood to be willing to make compromises to help the project go ahead. The People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ) have already made clear they oppose the suggestion – which comes shortly after revelations that one of Vienna’s most popular shopping streets could become a shared space zone.

Residents of the districts of Mariahilf and Neubau may be asked to decide over the future traffic concept of the Innere Mariahilfer Straße, a busy street featuring hundreds of fashion stores, bars and restaurants. The street separates the two districts and connects the Museumsquartier (MQ) with Westbahnhof station. Mariahilfer Straße is one of the most popular locations for shopping in the country.

It seems certain that the current traffic concept of the two-kilometre street will be altered in the coming months. Talks over the issue already started ahead of last October’s city parliament ballot in which all factions but the FPÖ sustained losses. Turning Mariahilfer Straße into a pedestrian zone is another suggestion decision-makers have negotiated. The allegedly favoured option, a shared space concept, does without any traffic signs and road markings.