The overview plan, which circulates among the Basel traffic planners, comprises 22 projects. Some of them have already been realized, for example the conversion of Lörracherstrasse in Riehen. Others, such as the renovation of the St. Alban facility or Gundeldingerstrasse, are currently being implemented. However, the majority of the listed transport projects are to be tackled in the coming years. Little or nothing is known of this yet. But the documents that are available to the bz and which have apparently only been seen by a handful of people within the Construction and Traffic Department (BVD) and the Basler Verkehrsbetriebe (BVB) contain a lot of explosives.
It should be possible to discuss, for example, that 15 of the listed changes could be removed from public transport. The trams or buses would lose their reserved lane. In seven of the projects, however, the route is to be expanded. The idea: Instead of the previous division, there are so-called virtual routes. When a tram or a bus arrives, the rest of the traffic is stopped, for example, by traffic lights. This means that public transport should continue to run unhindered even without its own lane.
The projects relate to sections distributed across the entire BVB network: For example, the Eigenstrasse of tram lines 1, 2 and 8 is to be dismantled at the market hall. According to the overview, various variants are currently being developed for the Theater stop; here too, the loss of the route is an option. Planning for the Spalenring is more advanced. This is already a so-called preliminary project: towards Voltaplatz, the tram line 1’s own route is no longer available, and the traffic planners also want to shorten it in the opposite direction. Effects according to the internal documents: «Loss times for tram line 1 and possibly crossing tram and bus lines.»
Additional detours planned for tram lines
According to the internal paper, other planned renovation projects are also likely to have a negative impact on the travel time of public transport. For example, the lifting of the double stop at the bank association. Which apparently also has to do with the fact that the trams should not stop at Dragon Center level as in the practical test last year, but directly after crossing the Bankverein. “This stop arrangement is less convenient for traffic,” the planners conclude. The preliminary study is about to be completed, as is the one for Aeschenplatz.
According to the documents, there is a plan that tram line 15 no longer goes directly through the
To connect St. Jakobs-Strasse with the memorial stop, but to take a detour via St. Alban-Anlage and Gartenstrasse – also connected with a longer journey time.
There could also be a surprising detour to the Claragraben. The idea of taking the 8-person tram via Wettsteinplatz and from there on a new route to Claraplatz has been a topic of conversation ever since the Claragraben first appeared in the plans of public transport thinkers. But now it could get more complicated. Instead of turning into Claragraben directly at Wettsteinplatz, “variant A”, according to the internal documents, provides for the line to be first led through Hammerstrasse and then into Riehenstrasse at an acute angle in front of Pizzeria Roma.
All projects should be stopped
Basta Grand Councilor and part-time tram guide Beat Leuthardt got his hands on the internal documents. He speaks openly of “stupid projects”. “Cars and trams are rushing at each other without need,” he says. The idea of a virtual route only works on paper. As soon as traffic jams, public transport will also be blocked. “And the Wettsteinplatz is obviously in Seldwyla,” he says laconically. In two motions, Leuthardt is now calling for all projects in which the tram loses its own terrace or detours are planned.
In addition, the corresponding preliminary studies and projects should be disclosed. SVP parliamentarian Joël Thüring also signed the motions. The BVD does not want to comment on the current motion on request. All traffic lights should light up for the traffic planners: With a similar bipartisan rapprochement, Leuthardt in 2019, against the will of Head Hans-Peter Wessels (SP), forced the BVD to plan a new switch on Centralbahnplatz – without a single vote in Parliament.