Friday, August 14, 2009

Cycling through eastern Germany - streets

Although I have been back to the former GDR several times since my trip back in 1993, I have never been here for long. I am now cycling down the Elbe River.

One of the things I happen to have recently heard about (it made national news here) was that some communities lack the money to properly tar their roads. It seems that roads are a matter for state governments, not local communities.

One village had therefore resorted to drastic means: they collected a special tax based on local property ownership and paved one lane down the middle. Eastern German towns often still have very old cobblestone roads that are noisy and hard to navigate, as any cyclist can tell you. So they spent one million on at least one lane rather than the four for the proper road.

I doubt I was in the village that made the news, but it looks to me like a number of villages over here have resorted to the same tactic for cheap road building, though perhaps not for financing. In the picture at the top, you can see three things: 1) where the funding ended; 2) how rough the going is over the old cobbles; and 3) how a side part was provided, possibly to allow people to ride bikes over the street where no pavement was provided.

And in the picture at the bottom, you can see a bikepath - officially part of the Elbe Bike Path - next to the old cobbles. The path is easily wide enough for a car. Who would criticize the locals for driving on the bike path when no one is looking - and for asking for special funding for that bike path so they could get their street paved with funding available from other budgets?

No comments:

Post a Comment