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Bahnhofsviertel im Wandel: Magistrat wants to tackle the difficult situation on the ground together

16.04.2024 | 13:58 Clock | Citywhispers
Bahnhofsviertel im Wandel: Magistrat wants to tackle the difficult situation on the ground together

At the 4th Dialogforum Bahnhofsviertel on Tuesday, 16 April, Lord Mayor Mike Josef and seven other members of the magistrate drew up an initial summary of their joint work to improve the situation in the district. Dialogue Forum Bahnhofsviertel on Tuesday, April 16, Lord Mayor Mike Josef, Police Commissioner Stefan Müller and seven other members of the city council gave an initial summary of their joint work to improve the situation in this district. "It has always been important to me to bring together all stakeholders - including the city, state and security authorities, as well as residents, clubs and businesses - and to work together on solutions. The station district remains the focus of our work. We are looking and not looking away. We owe that to our citizens," said Lord Mayor Josef. "We are increasing the presence of the state police and the city police at Kaisertor. I am delighted that we are taking the next step towards a safer station district with joint security patrols at Kaisertor. Visible police at the gateway to our city of Frankfurt, that's important to me", said the head of the city.

"I have always said that this will not be an easy task. It's a marathon and not a sprint. But we are seeing the first successes. The new weapons ban zone and the new video cameras are demonstrably providing more security. The good cooperation with the state police is also very helpful," Josef continued. "We will also step up our efforts in terms of cleanliness with even more cleaning and new public toilets. We will also tackle the major problem of e-scooters. We will continue to gradually improve the situation for addicts," explained the Lord Mayor.

A new important project is the social revitalization of Kaiserstrasse between Moselstrasse and the main railway station. A pedestrian zone with outdoor catering is to be created here. There will be a disposition fund for this, which can be used to support local businesses. There will then be two video locations there. The police have also agreed to this project. The head of the city made it clear that further projects will be added in the future. "Our goal remains to make the station district safer and cleaner. At the same time, we want to help addicts even more", emphasized Josef.
Video protection system and weapons ban zone show effect
228 identified suspects since the beginning of the year - this is the first interim result of the Frankfurt police on the new video protection systems of the city of Frankfurt am Main. The city of Frankfurt is the owner of the stationary video protection systems, but the Frankfurt police are the sole users. The cameras form three video protection zones on the axis from Kaisertor to Allerheiligenviertel in the station area, at Hauptwache and at Konstablerwache. The cameras in the station area alone have so far helped to identify 178 suspects. "In this heavily crime-ridden area, police measures can be supported and supplemented even better than before in future with the most advanced technology", said Police President Müller.

In the first five months since the weapons ban zone was introduced in parts of the station area, which covers an area between the main station and Weserstraße as well as Mainzer Landstraße and Gutleutstraße, the police have already reported 53 offences to date. Among other things, 41 knives, a knuckleduster, a blank-firing pistol and five telescopic batons were found and seized during identity checks.

Police Commissioner Müller says: "Nobody can be injured with these objects. This is direct victim protection. Together with the police measures that have been intensified in the station district since September 2022, such as the increased presence, the weapons ban zone and the video protection system make the district safer for residents, businesses, commuters and visitors. I would also like to thank Lord Mayor Josef for working with us on this."
Joint security patrol at Kaisertor
To support the project to revitalize Kaiserstraße between Moselstraße and the main railway station, Annette Rinn, Head of Public Order, and Police Commissioner Müller also agreed last week to set up a joint police and city security patrol, initially for the summer months. This should help to further pacify public spaces and make them fully usable and accessible for public use. The joint patrol will be deployed exclusively in the area between Moselstrasse/Kaiserstraße and Kaisertor as well as on the station forecourt.

Head of Public Order Rinn emphasizes: "Security and order are a very complex issue in Frankfurt's station district. We have almost doubled the number of city police patrols there, the state police have greatly increased the frequency of their checks and raids, the video protection systems deter many potential criminals and help to solve crimes that have been committed and the weapons ban zone has already proven to be an effective means of combating crime after a very short time. The joint patrols by the city and state police will also increase the visibility of the law enforcement agencies and strengthen people's sense of security. I am very pleased with the reactions from residents and business people, who associate these measures with a significant improvement in the situation, especially in recent months."
Improving the situation of addicts
Together with Ossip Streetwork and the Integrative Drug Aid, severely disabled drug addicts from the station district are housed and cared for in permanent accommodation. This stabilizes the state of health of these sick people considerably and gets them off the streets. There are currently 17 drug addicts in the project, some of whom are dependent on wheelchairs.

"This year, the funding for all drug support providers in the station district will be increased. The city is also making an additional two million euros available to them. Among other things, this will enable street social work and the opening hours of drug support facilities to be extended," says Elke Voitl, Head of the Social and Health Department.

The city is currently working on the establishment of an "Interdisciplinary Addiction Center" to counter the constantly changing consumer behaviour. In this context, the city is examining the implementation of a model project for the treatment of crack addicts together with the Federal Ministry of Health.

In order to limit the wild distribution of food in the station district, the city is offering a central location from Saturday, April 20 - where all private initiatives can hand out their food donations to those in need. The coordination office for the station district, which was set up a year ago, has proved its worth. It will therefore be permanently housed in Kaiserstrasse. The move is imminent.
Cleanliness is a team effort
"We have 23 to 26 FES employees working in the station district every day, we start cleaning early in the morning and stop when many stores have long since closed. Every day, FES collects between seven and ten cubic meters of garbage from the district. The #cleanffm task force is also deployed at weekends. Despite this already considerable effort by FES employees, we will continue to increase our efforts," says Rosemarie Heilig, Head of Climate and Environment. "From May 1, for example, cleaning and waste disposal will work together in a network, we will also extend the working hours of FES employees on the early and late shifts and we will increase the number of cleaning staff on the late shift from four to eight. In addition, there will be another wet cleaning service in the afternoon, a bulky waste vehicle will also be deployed and there will be an additional garbage can collection service in the afternoon."

City Councillor Sylvia Weber explains how her department is also helping to improve the situation in the station district: "We will install three new public toilets by June 2024, thereby increasing both the cleanliness and the citizen-friendliness and attractiveness of this part of the city." Specifically, public unisex toilets (so-called multifunctional modules) will be installed in Niddastrasse opposite house number 37 and in Moselstrasse at house number 53, as well as a slightly larger, barrier-free toilet (so-called family and disabled module) on Kaiserstraße, probably in the area of house numbers 62-64.

"I am delighted," says Weber, "to support the revitalization of Kaiserstraße as a pedestrian zone by installing a large toilet - especially on market days. This is just as important to me as using the other two modules to counteract pollution in the Bahnhofsviertel." With the FES, a strong partner is also responsible for the operation of these new public toilets, so that reliable maintenance and cleaning can be guaranteed.
Spatial upgrading of the district
A disposition fund is being set up by the Department of Planning and Housing, with a total budget of 80,000 euros and around 3,500 euros per project in the station district. This fund supports specific projects in the station district that are intended to contribute to improving the quality of life.

From 2025, a funding program will be launched that focuses on first floor zones and has a total volume of around 300,000 euros. The aim is to support and promote owners and users in the implementation of projects that improve the quality of life and living in these areas.

The station forecourt - as the main portal - is currently being asphalted with light-colored asphalt by the Office for Road Construction and Development in order to make the surroundings more appealing. The construction site facilities at the main station are being coordinated with Deutsche Bahn in order to keep the visibility of the construction site as low as possible throughout the entire project period until 2042. This is a challenge due to the constantly changing construction site areas such as the B-level, the entrance hall, the demolition of the north wing, the construction of track 25 and the supply center as well as the stop of the mainline tunnel. The measures began with historical images and will continue.
The new Kaisertor pedestrian area
The painting of the "Kaisertor" project is being financed by the Department of Planning and Housing. The painting will be incorporated into the design to preserve and enhance the historical and cultural heritage of the Kaisertor. Marcus Gwechenberger, Head of Planning and Housing, says: "We are relying on targeted measures such as the disposition fund and the upcoming funding program to increase the quality of life in Frankfurt's Bahnhofsviertel and promote projects by owners and users. The coordination with Deutsche Bahn regarding the construction site facilities at the main station shows our efforts to minimize the visibility of the construction site until 2042. We are also investing in projects such as the Kaisertor to preserve and further develop our historical heritage."

"How urban places are accepted is closely linked to the mobility concepts on site," says Wolfgang Siefert, Head of Mobility: "We are playing a major role in improving the station district through demand-oriented use that offers pedestrians, cyclists, residents and business people attractive and safe routes."

The Kaisertor will become a pedestrian zone in order to upgrade the end of Kaiserstraße at the main railway station. The application for the redesignation procedure with the Darmstadt Regional Council is already being processed by the Mobility Department; approval is expected towards the end of 2024.
In the run-up to this, the city council wants to test various pedestrian zone-friendly uses and facilities. The area is to be developed into a no-stopping zone in the near future and parking spaces in the Kaisertor are to be made available for outdoor catering. It is currently being examined whether and how the local trade association can additionally occupy the street. The street area is also being artistically designed to draw the attention of all road users to the change.
Comprehensive parking spaces for e-scooters, bicycles and delivery zones
In order to reduce the obstruction of passers-by by e-scooters in the station district, the mobility department has initiated the installation of a comprehensive network of mandatory parking spaces. The goal of setting up around 100 spaces has been achieved. The station district will be equipped with parking spaces for e-scooters up to the Main, with further spaces planned in the adjacent Gutleutviertel and Gallus districts as well as around Willy-Brandt-Platz.

The geofencing - the digital technology that uses the e-scooter providers' apps to ensure that the scooters are only parked in the designated areas - will be put into operation once the marking work has been completed in May. "The e-scooters, which will have to be parked in the parking spaces in future, will cause significantly less disruption to pedestrian traffic," emphasizes mobility department head Siefert.

In addition to the e-scooter parking spaces, 165 spaces for bicycle racks and 75 delivery zones will be set up to improve the facilities for cyclists and delivery traffic.
Traffic calming in front of the main station
Surveys have shown that the issue of traffic is one of the challenges in the station district that citizens perceive as particularly pressing. The four-track expansion of the streetcar stop in front of the main station, planned for 2028/2029, will open up new opportunities for traffic calming in the station district. "A clearly structured, district-based traffic concept is planned. It relates to the three main axes in the station district, which are assigned clear functions," explains Wolfgang Siefert. "Taunusstraße is to be dedicated to cycling, Kaiserstraße to pedestrian traffic and Münchener Straße to public transport."
Social revitalization of the district
"In October 2023, an additional, third business day was held in the station district to highlight its economic importance for Frankfurt," says Stephanie Wüst, Head of Economic Affairs. "In particular, we are focusing on owner-managed businesses from the retail, trade and catering sectors that have chosen the Bahnhofsviertel and put their heart and soul into the district."

The road surface of Kaiserstraße will be temporarily painted with guidelines during the 2024 European Championships. The aim is to highlight attractive walking routes and visually enhance the area. The Kaisertor, as the gateway to the city, is to be enriched with "Welcome to Frankfurt" lettering before the start of the European Championships on the initiative of the owners.

The trade associations have already come up with ideas for revitalizing the Kaisertor. The aim is to create a permanent revitalization with gastronomy and other activities around a well-lit guest area with furniture.

"The Kaisermarkt, which is celebrating its 25th birthday this year, is also to be strengthened and supported in the medium term. Talks with the organizer, LMS Hessen, are ongoing and will continue," says Wüst. On one of the two market days (Tuesday), the market is to be relocated to the lower Kaiserstrasse.

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