The Nordhorn city council had applied for certification with an extensive application at the beginning of 2019. In May 2019, a jury of several members had then toured the city on behalf of the state of Lower Saxony and checked the information on site. Thereby Nordhorn could convince as a bicycle city.
Jury impressed by consistency
"The jury was impressed by the fact that cycling is taken into account as an equal means of transport in the course of administrative action and in political decisions," reads the written justification for the certification. In the context of an overall strategy all involved ones would cooperate consistently, in order to promote the bicycle traffic further.
As an example, the jury cites the procedure for developing residential areas according to the Dutch model with short, direct connections for bicycle traffic. "This means that many destinations can be reached more quickly by bicycle than by car."But also the development of the comfort cycle track with the created priority rights stood for this overall strategy. "This consistent promotion of cycling is reflected in the cityscape and in the positive cycling climate that can be felt in the city."
Much accomplished, much to do
Mayor Thomas Berling thanked the many participants from administration, politics and society for their active commitment at the certificate award ceremony at the AGFK annual conference in Lüneburg. There is a lot of work, energy and of course also financial resources in the development of the bicycle city Nordhorn. "We invest all this out of the firm conviction that consistent promotion of cycling brings benefits for everyone in Nordhorn," Berling said. This applies to traffic congestion, the city climate, nature and, last but not least, health. "Cycling simply means quality of life in Nordhorn, and the jury also sensed this during their visit," the mayor noted.
According to Berling, Nordhorn has no intention of resting on its laurels: "We have achieved a great deal, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us."Since Nordhorn was comparatively early in the construction of cycle paths, many connections are visibly getting on in years and need to be renovated accordingly. This was also pointed out by the jury in conclusion. "The renovation and also widening of older bike paths is the challenge for the coming years, as well as the further optimization of the path network," says Berling. An important project in this context is the renewal of the closed cycle path bridge over the Nordhorn-Almelo canal at the height of the NINO business park, which is planned for the coming year.
Certification as a "Bicycle-Friendly Municipality of Lower Saxony" is valid for a period of five years. In 2024, Nordhorn will thus have to apply for the title again. In addition to Nordhorn, Emden, Göttingen and Hemmingen were also honored today. In total, there are thus currently 13 "bicycle-friendly municipalities" in Lower Saxony.
During the inspection in May of this year, the jury took a look at the comfort cycle path along the Nordhorn-Almelo canal, the numerous new bicycle parking facilities in the city center and the new bicycle lanes and pictogram lanes, among other things. There were also points to be scored in the areas of general cycling climate, road safety work, professional cycling, cycle tourism and leisure traffic.