The BERNARD Gruppe was commissioned by the Bremen Chamber of Commerce and the BEAN Bremerhavener Entwicklungsgesellschaft Alter/Neuer Hafen mbH to prepare a “City Gate” traffic concept. In the course of this concept and by taking into account future traffic volumes for the forecast period 2035, it was investigated whether the current traffic space could be significantly reduced while maintaining the city’s traffic capacity. The main aim was to eliminate the separating effect of Columbusstraße and to noticeably reduce the waiting times of pedestrians crossing the road.

In preparation for the city’s urban design competition, the BERNARD Gruppe was commissioned with the preparation of a traffic concept for an inner-city section of Columbusstrasse with 6 traffic lights (length: approx. 1,100 m).

It was desired that the concept also provide a connection of the Havenwelten in Bremerhaven with its tourist attractions (Auswandererhaus, Klimahaus, Zoo am Meer) to the city center. In principle, the urban grid allows for good through-traffic flow, but alternative transport axes are either obstructed or unattractive. In addition, the busy Columbusstrasse, which has six to eight-lanes in some parts, creates a barrier for pedestrian traffic and thus separates the Havenwelten from the city center. With the planned demolition of the tax office in Keilstraße, the city now has the opportunity to significantly increase the attractiveness of this area by reorganizing its uses.

The iterative conceptual design process comprised four successive steps to forecast a planning scenario 2035. The outcome was that the traffic space on the study route can be reduced by approx. 8,100 m2 – while maintaining the road network’s capacity. For this purpose, the control programs and parameterizations of the traffic lights have to be adapted, and center islands, lanes and bus lanes have to be reduced. The calculations were confirmed in a traffic-based simulation and have been made public on several occasions, including a press conference.

The gain in space of 8,100 m2 means that Columbusstrasse can be converted into an attractive urban boulevard. The previous function as a “pure traffic channel” can be improved in such a way that separate pedestrian and cycle paths provide for a loosened-up traffic situation, thus creating a promenade and at the same time a nicely designed access road to the Havenwelten.

Hendrik Pierer, BERNARD Gruppe
Photo: ©BISWolfhard-Scheer