Archive for the ‘Politix’ Category

Cycling, Cycling, Cycling

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009

You know, I’m a passionate cyclist. But since my bike got stolen in middle of October, I’m without a ride here in Sofia. I didn’t really miss it, because this place is just not made for cycling.

But, something amazing happened :) A friend of my mother, Nordfried, was doing a cycle tour from Novi Sad in Serbia to Vidin in the very north-west of Bulgaria along the Danube. To go back to their home country (Germany) they came to Sofia and wrote me an e-mail beforehand if I would be willing to help them with train tickets and show them around a little bit. For sure, I like being a guide, I myself always learn something new. After helping with train tickets Nordfried offered me to take his bike – he had just bought it in Novi Sad and has no use for it in Germany. I’m feeling so flattered … I’m very happy about it. But still I’m afraid to use it, because I don’t want it to be stolen again. And I need a good place for the night. First I need a good lock!

Two days later on Saturday, there was an invitation to a „bike parade“ through Sofia, to demand more bicycle lanes. As I have my new ride now, it was mandatory for me to go there. And I was really amazed, I think there were more than 2000 people. I didn’t even think there were so many bikes in Sofia (ok, I’m kidding). Afterwards there was a small party in the „Kolodrum“, a former bicycle arena, but I decided to go to the night of museums with free entrance. I think Sofia needs some more years, but finally it could become a good place!

In the last days I read in my newspaper, that – maybe due to the financial crisis – many more people uses bikes for their everyday ways in Vienna as in the last years. At the most important counting point – at the Ring near the State Opera – there’s an increase of about 25% to the last year. On other points, Lassallestraße, Kennedybrücke and Langobardenstraße the increase is about 50% (more statistics). This is really great news, I hope that the politicians now feel the need to do something (for example find a good solution for the cycle route at the Ring).

No more motorways!

Freitag, April 24th, 2009

Just two weeks ago I vent my anger on my blog about governmental financial support for cars and construction of new motorways. Today you could read on the news page of our federal broadcasting station about a study, that investing in cycling, public transportation and alternative means of transportation employs much more people and is much more sustainable – and the study talks only about the process of construction, not including the effects afterwards.

My words. I’m curious if our politicians will change their path … I doubt it.

But maybe there’s hope. Our planet deserves it.

Read the whole text here (for sure in German).

Unhappy Birthday „Die Krone“!

Samstag, April 11th, 2009

Living abroad really helps to heal your mind, because you just have a selective perception about things going on in your home country. Which for the case of Austria, is a good thing. But still today I had to read about the 50th birthday of „Die Krone“ (The Crown), Austrias most popular newspaper. Unfortunately this newspaper is well known for it’s influence on politicians and people living in Austria. Not a good thing and not very democratic, but symptomatic for Austrias ’small mind‘ (Kleingeist).

I already enjoyed the movie Kronen Zeitung – Tag für Tag ein Boulevardstück (Kronen Zeitung – Day by day a boulevard play) (see on Youtube) of the critical (German-French, in Austria this wouldn’t be possible) TV station arte some years ago, but the following articles in the Austrian magazin Profil also help to heal the mind (I just hope more Austrians would read them):

So … unhappy 50th birthday „Die Krone“. Hopefully next time you can’t celebrate that much ;)

Scrap your Car!

Samstag, April 11th, 2009

… but please don’t buy a new one.

Maybe you don’t know it, but in Austria and Germany you get some money right now if you scrap your old car and buy a new one instead. It’s meant to be an encouragement for the economy, at times of the financial crisis. In my opinion this is completely bullshit, because I believe cars are not sustainable. They are just energy consuming, space consuming (even worse) and a major factor of pollution (exhaust fumes, noise) in our cities. And they cause a lot of accidents, many of them lethal (the new cars, which are usually bigger are much more dangerous – not for the people inside, but outside).

The car industry is in a crisis right now (I can’t say, that I’m not happy about this). But does this measure really help? Okay, they can produce a lot of new cars right now … but what next? Who will buy a new car in half a year? or in a year? Don’t all this people who plan to buy a car soon buy it now? So the next crisis will come soon … And what to do then?

I would love to see an encouragement of our government(s) and municipalities to use other means of transportation. In Public Transportation there are a lot of sustainable jobs (building new buses, trams and metros, construction of new lines, drivers, mechanics, …). Cycling – maybe not so many jobs, but most of them are in small or medium sized companies.

Happily, I’m not the only one, who thinks like this:

  • The German city of Mannheim introduced a bonus if you get rid of your old bike and buy a new one instead.
  • The „Verkehrsclub Deutschland“ demands a national wide bonus for users of public transportation, cycling and other means of transportation.
  • (the young lobby for cyclists in Austria) demonstrates against the scraping bonus for cars and demands the promotion of cycling.
  • „Argus – Die Radlobby“ (lobby for cyclists in Austria) introduced their own bonus – there’s a discount on a new „KTM – Velvet“ of 250€ if you buy it now.
  • The VCÖ (Verkehrsclub Österreich) started a petition for a bonus of 100€ if you buy a new bike or a yearly ticket for public transportation.
  • Die Grünen think the scraping bonus is just a bad April Fool’s joke and demand that the 25 Mio € should be invested into improvements to public transportation.

Now in our financial crisis we could have an opportunity to change the societies values. Our cities could be so much nicer if we have less cars. People wouldn’t go to big shopping centres but use shops in their neighbourhood – good for traffic reduction, good for the local economy.  Unfortunately I don’t see it happen. But the next crises will come soon, I’m sure about it.

Maybe people (and politicians) start to think (I doubt it).

What do you think? Do you have good ideas? Have you heard about other activism of groups?


Donnerstag, November 20th, 2008

Kennt ihr FS-Misik (bzw. Robert Misik)? Das ist ein Wiener Autor, der für den Standard und einige andere Zeitungen schreibt. Außerdem betriebt er auf der Homepage des Standards seit einiger Zeit einen Videoblog, von dem ich in der letzten Zeit großer Fan geworden bin, aufgrund seiner seiner bissigen Analysen und Gedankenanregungen. Schaut mal auf rein und stöbert … es lohnt sich.

A lot of things …

Donnerstag, November 6th, 2008

I really have to excuse, now there was a really long time without an article on my Blog. It’s not that there’s nothing to talk about, for sure I’m not getting bored that easily.

As I already announced I’ve been to a CouchSurfing-Meeting in Borovets, a skiing-resort in the Rila-Mountains at the weekend of October 24th-26th.
The Meeting started on Saturday, but I wanted to go there on Friday and use the whole weekend, especially as I was told, that this place is very good for hiking. I finally found some fellows – two more Erasmus students from Germany and Latvia and a CouchSurfer from Bulgaria (who did Erasmus at Vienna University of Technology some years ago and was studying at the same university here in Sofia too). We started our trip with an evening hike. We met in Sofia shortly after 6pm and travelled to Боровец (Borovets) by bus and taxi and started hiking around 8:30pm. So it was already really dark and we had to use our head lamps. After about two hours we reached our place for the night … a mountain hut. We were welcomed with a burning oven and candle light. We had some dinner and spend the rest of the evening playing cards.
Most of the next day we spent hiking, we hiked to one of the next peaks, Шатар (Schatar), with about 2500m over sea level. Unfortunately the weather was not very nice, it was very foggy and it even had some rain.

In the days after I got a nasty diarrhea with stomach cramps and fever … not very funny, but after three or four days it finally got better. So I spent a lot of time at home, in my bed or in front of the TV.

On the weekend I joined my first Critical Mass in Sofia with a borrowed bicycle. You know, this is this an international movement of cyclists who meet and cycle through town to fight for more rights for cyclists and other alternative forms of transportation. Here in Sofia we are still a small group, we just were like a dozen people or so. Afterwards I was invited to the national radio for a concert – some psychedelic underground rock band was playing there, which was pretty got. I met the husband and a flat-mate of Rossi, the CouchSurfer where I spent my first two weeks. I had thought I might meet him there, because he is working at this radio.

On Sunday I went hiking again, this time on the Vitosha, the mountain close to Sofia, to it’s highest peak, the Черни Връх (Cherni Vrah). This time we took it easy and used a chair lift for a part of our tour. Unfortunately the weather was again not very good.

Most of the last days I spent with my computer, because I’m working on a new web application (I also should study, I will do it tomorrow, promise!). I told you about the OpenStreetMap (OSM) before, which is a free alternative to Google Maps (and similar applications) and consists mainly of user generated content. I’m not very satisfied with the default view, as the public transport routes are not being displayed (at least not if you enter them in the preferred way). I was thinking about generating an own map style for a long time, and now I decided to just do it. The project is progressing quite nicely, and I think the OSM community will be quite excited about it. But at the moment I can’t show you anything yet, I will write a special article on my blog when it’s ready to be announced.

I could actually need some help with this project. I’m not very good at drawing and I need little icons for train, tram, bus and some more things. So if you want to help the open source community, this is your chance. :)

So, thanks for patience. Have a nice weekend!

13A bald wieder als Bim?

Freitag, Oktober 10th, 2008

Sehr viele meiner LeserInnen werden vermutlich nicht wissen, dass der 13A, eine Buslinie in Wien die zwischen Südbahnhof und Alser Straße verkehrt und dabei wichtige Bezirkszentren (Margaretenplatz, Mariahilferstraße/Neubaugasse, Josefstadt, …) erschließt, bis in die 1960er Jahre eine Straßenbahn war. Nun gibt es wieder Pläne diese Straßenbahnlinie wiederzuerrichten, da sich der Bus dort nicht bewährt (hat). Mehr dazu in der Wiener Zeitung.

Man beachte den Preis: von 20 Mio. Euro für 6 km neue Straßenbahn wird hier gesprochen, eine Summe die für gerade mal 200 m oberirdischer U-Bahn-Trasse reicht.

Ganz neu ist diese Idee übrigens nicht. Die Grünen fordern eine Umstellung schon seit längerem. (aktuelle Reaktion)

Achja, am Sonntag wird die Neuordnung der Ringlinien umgesetzt, wovon ich vor ein paar Monaten berichtet hab.

Graffitis mal anders rum …

Mittwoch, September 24th, 2008

Mit einem Sandstrahler wird die Straße vom Dreck befreit … auch so enstehen Graffitis:

Grün muss man lernen

Mittwoch, September 24th, 2008

Nein, das ist keine Werbung für die kommenden Wahlen, sondern eine kleine Leseempfehlung von mir. Weil Städte nicht nur aus Häusern und Straßen sondern auch aus Grünraum dazwischen bestehen:


Samstag, September 20th, 2008

Noch eine Woche bis zur Wahl in Österreich – und diesmal verlagert sich der Wahlkampf immer mehr ins Internet, wenn auch die Versuche der Parteien noch recht patschert wirken. Ich hab eine ganz spannende Homepage gefunden, auf der UserInnen per Video eine Frage an die Partei(en) ihrer Wahl stellen können und dort auch per Videos Antworten bekommen. Vielleicht hilft das den Unentschlossenen unter euch: