Part of Langstrasse in Zurich to be made car-free from November 2023
The Zurich Civil Engineering Office has confirmed that a portion of Langstrasse will become car-free from November 2023. In the future, only cyclists, buses and taxi services will be able to use the popular bar and clubbing street during the day.
Parts of Langstrasse to be car-free during the day
In a statement given to 20 minuten, authorities in Zurich said that it will be restricting motor vehicles on Langstrasse from November 2023. They explained that the plan was created to reduce the excessive amount of car traffic that has been using the street to access other areas of the city. Langstrasse is a famous nightclub and bar area and has been the home of most of Zurich's Red Light District since the 1970s.
During the day, from November 2023, cars will be banned on the street between the junctions of Brauerstrasse and Dienerstrasse. Between 5.30am and 10pm, only pedestrians, cyclists, taxis and buses will be allowed to use the restricted part of the street.
In addition, the separate bus lane will be scrapped and pavements on either side widened to accommodate the large number of people that visit the street. Soundproofing, new bicycle parking and other quality-of-life upgrades are also being planned, according to the Tages-Anzeiger.
What will car-free Langstrasse mean for drivers in Zurich?
Instead of going straight through Langstrasse, drivers will be diverted through a new road system on Ankerstrasse and Kanonengasse. Authorities confirmed that Kanonengasse will be upgraded so that it can accommodate the extra traffic. Finally, a 30-kilometre-an-hour speed limit will be imposed on Langstrasse itself.
"The interruption of the route is intended to make Langstrasse unattractive for drivers," noted Zurich spokesperson Roger Schaad. He hoped that the plan will have a “barrier effect” on motorists, convincing them to take alternative routes or use public transport.
Pedestrianising Langstrasse has been an issue since the 1970s
According to the Tages-Anzeiger, debates over pedestrianising and reducing traffic on Langstrasse have been ongoing since the 1970s, with plans continually vetoed and then re-proposed by city authorities. In responding to the plan, a spokesperson from the Swiss People’s Party said that the council had surrendered to “the bike lobby” and predicted that the decision would cause traffic jams.
Schaad explained that the new plan was a compromise between the city - which wanted the road to remain open and available for the emergency services and residents - and the local community - many of whom wanted a driving ban on Langstrasse. The project will cost 5 million francs, with construction on Langstrasse due to begin in June 2023.