The initiative autofrei Berlin considers a ban on internal combustion engines by 2030 realistic. Saturday there will be a demonstration on Sonnenallee.
Friedrichstrasse is to be car-free for a few days in the fall Photo: dpa
site: Mr. Schonbett, autofrei Berlin is holding a demonstration on Saturday on Sonnenallee in Neukolln. What’s the plan?
Oliver Schonbett: The meeting point is at 5 p.m. at Hermannplatz. We will then walk to the Sonnenallee S-Bahn station, that is, to the end of the avenue. In between, we’ll hold various rallies and try to get our message out to the people.
What is the message?
That the quality of life would improve enormously if there were no longer so many cars on the road and they also had to drive more slowly. Sonnenallee in particular is very busy. We expect several hundred participants. The lane towards the S-Bahn station will be closed for three hours for the demonstration and thus for all cars. BVG buses will also be diverted in the lane we are walking on.
34, an IT project manager by profession. For autofrei Berlin, where Schonbett has been participating for eight weeks, he has organized the demonstration in Sonnenallee.
The initiative autofrei Berlin has existed since the beginning of the year. What is the goal?
Inner cities should basically be car-free. It’s about shaking people up. Madrid and Paris have shown how it’s done. With our initiative, we are trying to put pressure on politicians to take appropriate measures. The will of the people is there; the political majorities are there. Everything is taking far too long, even the implementation of the Mobility Act is not really working. Things have to move faster.
At their parliamentary group retreat, the Greens decided to ban cars with internal combustion engines within the S-Bahn ring from 2030. Is that fast enough?
I would like it to be even faster. 2025 would be good. But a traffic turnaround has to be considered from all political angles, compromises have to be found. Local public transport must be expanded before then. You probably won’t get there by 2025, but if you work toward the inner city being combustion-engine-free by 2030, I’d be all for it.
Sonnenallee is the fourth so-called block parade that autofrei Berlin has organized. Where did the first actions take place?
In Niederbarnimstrabe and Hermannstrabe and on the Oberbaumbrucke. The actions started small and are getting bigger and bigger. On Facebook, we now have more than 1,000 followers. We also encourage people to register such action themselves. We have put the instructions on how to do this online on our site.
How many people organize autofrei Berlin?
We are four active people. Jason Kruger started the action together with Irene Dietzel. We don’t always want to just talk, we want to do something. All four of us work and do this on the side. Anyone else can do it, too.
What do you mean by radical climate policy?
For a long time, climate policy was characterized by the fact that it took place on a voluntary and individual basis. Motorized individual mobility still takes precedence over everything else, but cities should be there for people, not for cars – for that, you might have to dare to take drastic steps sometimes.