How Oberursel is planning to re-develop the station area with the help of its citizens

The discussion taking place in Oberursel about the re-development of the station area is not new.  In fact, it has been going on for several decades as Mayor Hans-Georg Brum reminded local residents at a meeting in the Stadthalle this week.  He had even brought along a copy of the 1976 traffic concept to prove it!

But whilst some members of the town council may still be reminding people of how expensive the plan was to put a tunnel under the Nassauer Straße and join the road coming from Bad Homburg with the Weingärten by-pass, others – indeed a group of ordinary people from the town – had brought along suggestions of their own.

The Stadthalle during the Buergerversammlung

It was Arnold Richter, head of the town’s planning department, who got the evening off to a start with a presentation of the concept that the town council has agreed to use as a basis for discussion.  By connecting the end of the Nassauer Straße with the Weingärten by-pass it is thought that other parts of the town, such as the Oberhöchstadter Straße, will be relieved of a good portion of their traffic.  A new road leaving the Nassauer Straße near the flyover and entering the station area to join up with the car park would also reduce the number of vehicles heading for the park and ride spaces that travel along the narrow part of the road.  He backed up the plans with data taken from traffic counts in the area that have been put into a computer model to predict the effect the new road layout would have.

Half an hour later, and the rest of the evening was left for audience, numbering approximately 300 people, to be able to ask their questions and put forward their own suggestions, making it one of the shortest agendas for such a meeting in recent years!

Residents along the eastern end of the Nassauer Straße were concerned with the noise levels as they are at the moment, especially at night when some vehicles speed along the road.  They called for a 30kmh limit to be in place after 10pm.  This was supported by Patrick Schneider-Ludorff from the ADFC (cyclists’ association) who would like to see such a limit in place all the time due to the narrowness of the road and the lack of a cycle path.

However both Herr Richter and Alderman Christof Fink pointed out that as much as they supported the idea, there was no legal basis for it as the road is not considered to be an accident blackspot.

Other areas concerned about an increase in noise generally were residents from the Homburger Landstraße on the other side of the railway and the residents living near the Gablonzer Straße which would see an increase in through-traffic.

Some of the statistics where questioned as well, such as how it was possible for a 50% reduction in noise in the Oberhöchstadter Straße, when only 10% of the traffic on it at the moment is considered to be such through-traffic.

With an increase in traffic expected travelling across town on the Nassauer Straße, the zebra crossing at the end of the Adenauer Allee was also questioned.  At present, traffic can come from three directions so pedestrians need to be especially careful when crossing it.  Maybe in future a pelican crossing will be needed at this location.

Perhaps the most suprising – even radical – part of the evening was when Bernd Peppler, co-organiser of a series of meetings with local residents that had taken place in advance as a non-political initiative, was invited onto the stage to present the results of those gatherings.  The results had also been made available online in advance in the BrunnenTreff forum and not only had the Mayor been reading them, but his staff had too.

Each of the suggestions had been evaluated for their positive and negative aspects, after which they had been placed in groups showing whether the administration found them good, interesting, or not feasible.  However Mayor Brum promised “we shall look into all of them”, before he thanked everyone for holding such a factual discussion.  That discussion continued in the foyer for some time afterwards.

The “Bürgerversammlung” was certainly not like others that I have been to recent years.  There were no party politics, no long speeches biting into the question time, and at the end of the day if the town takes all of the suggestions on board and at least considers them then they may have just started a new era of dialog with their citizens and set a precedent for the future.


About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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