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Bellerivestrasse Zurich: now the track reduction is coming

The important access route from the Gold Coast to the city of Zurich will be single-lane for almost a year from next summer.

Bellerviestrasse will be reduced from two to one lane in each direction. (Image: Nathalie Taiana / NZZ)

Nathalie Taiana

The city of Zurich is planning a traffic trial from August 2023 to April 2024. The number of lanes on Bellerivestrasse will be temporarily halved – from two to one in each direction on most of the route.

With the experiment, the city wants to gain insights for a long-term structural redesign. But what should concern motorists and residents above all: Are there traffic jams?

Because of the history, some people might have concerns. Two years ago, AL City Councilor Richard Wolff, who has since resigned, announced out of nowhere that lanes would be removed and claimed that this would not lead to any traffic problems.

Wolff referred to studies. As it turned out, however, the studies said the opposite: A continuous reduction in lanes without impairing performance was not possible. The talk was of heavily loaded traffic situations and long tailbacks. Wolff had to stop the exercise.

And now?

The city writes: “There are many studies and simulations, but only reality can show whether traffic routing on Bellerivestrasse with mostly one lane in each direction works.”

At the time, Wolff had nurtured the suspicion that he was less interested in an attempt to rehabilitate the road than in a long-term reduction in capacity for car traffic – in favor of bicycles. A cycle path should have been created on the free lane.

In principle, nothing has changed in the new test, although the cycle path is not continuous. According to city documents, one lane for motorized individual traffic and one bicycle lane in each direction will be available during the test in the section from Falkenstrasse to Ida-Bindschedler-Strasse. At Bellevue and Tiefenbrunnen there will still be at least two lanes for car traffic.

The safety department of Karin Rykart (Greens) is responsible for the test. The head of civil engineering, Wolff, had handed over responsibility for Bellerivestrasse to her.

background of the traffic test is that Bellerivestrasse has to be renovated. The road surface, the sewage system and the utility lines are in poor structural condition and need to be renewed.

The test is accompanied by an independent, external engineering office, according to the city. One goal is a safe street space with attractive bicycle routes, another is to prevent smuggled traffic through the neighborhood and into neighboring communities.

What should reassure motorists somewhat: “Maintenance of performance” is also one of the goals.

A detailed report follows.

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