Updated May 19, 2020 11:00
Controversial protective measure
Pedestrians in the city of Bern no longer have to press the red traffic light button to be able to cross streets. Cyclists and car drivers see themselves at a disadvantage.
- In the city of Bern, no more traffic light buttons have to be pressed to be able to cross a street.
- This is to protect pedestrians from the corona virus.
- The new regulation can lead to longer waiting times for drivers and cyclists.
- How long the measure will remain in place is not yet known.
Until now, anyone who wanted to cross a street in Bern had to press the red traffic light button to get the green light. In the times of Corona, a reluctant routine for many people. But this is no longer necessary: ”Pedestrians can now cross a street without having to touch the lever,” says urban transport planner Karl Vogel to the “Bund”. The city of Bern has converted 56 out of 80 traffic lights to a so-called “permanent registration for pedestrians”. This should better protect pedestrians from the corona virus.
This change can lead to longer waiting times for motorists and cyclists. “At certain times, traffic lights for pedestrians may turn green, even though no one wants to cross the pedestrian crossing,” says Vogel. This is also noticeable at Bernmobil: According to media spokesman Rolf Meyer, line 19 is experiencing a slight slowdown. “In addition, our drivers must always expect a pedestrian traffic light to turn red, even though no pedestrian who wants to cross the street can be seen,” says Meyer.
Andrea Zryd, Co-President of Fussverkehr Bern and SP-Großrätin, welcomes the new regulation: “There have never been so many pedestrians on the road as now.” That is why it is all the more important to ensure their security.
This is contradicted by Lars Guggisberg (SVP), Vice President TCS Bern-Mittelland. For the TCS Section Bern, these measures are “arbitrary and disproportionate”. They would suggest that a possible infection only serves as an excuse for a political move.
How long the new regulation will be implemented is not yet clear. “Where it doesn’t do much, we’ll soon cancel the permanent registration,” says traffic planner Vogel.