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Bremen, Germany: The Pursuit of Sane Transportation

The Star looks at Bremen, Germany today as a city Toronto can look to for emulation.

At 52, [city planner] Glotz-Richter is his city’s model commuter. He sets out most mornings cycling one kilometre to the train station from his suburban home. Like every station, his has weather-protected bike racks, where hundreds of commuters leave their wheels each day. (GO recently counted just 735 bikes parked across its 58 stations.)

Following a 20-minute train ride, Glotz-Richter picks up his second set of two wheels at Bremen’s central station. Its 1,500 bike racks are housed on two levels, with video surveillance and smartcard access.

In 14 years of biking, Glotz-Richter says he’s never had vandalism or theft. He wears raingear to keep his suit and tie dry in a drizzle.

“We have a shoe-polish machine in the bike station. These little details are not spectacular, but they’re another part of the jigsaw puzzle” of reduced car reliance, says Glotz-Richter. Bankers and officials ride bikes in suits. “It has never been the poor man’s mode of transport,” he says. “The lower your social status, the more you depend on a car.”

More at the Star.