Berlin’s Most Famous Street Will Go Car-Free
Private cars will be banned from Unter den Linden in 2019, but the avenue will still need help to become more appealing to pedestrians.
- Feargus O’Sullivan Nov 7, 2016
In 2019, the very heart of Berlin will go car-free. Following a decision Saturday, Berlin’s Unter den Linden avenue will soon be off limits to all private cars, allowing only buses, taxis, and bikes to ride along its mile’s length.
It’s hard to overstate the symbolic significance of the move. Unter den Linden is the most famous street in Germany, a kind of Teutonic Champs Elysées that contains museums, libraries, monuments, a university, and two opera houses. The East Berlin avenue, whose name means “under/among the linden trees”, used to function as an east-west highway through the city’s heart and was the focus for military parades from the era of Napoleon to that of Gorbachev. Banishing cars from such a central space won’t just remove private motorists from the city’s tourist heart, it suggests a change of heart that could steadily see such traffic increasingly sidelined.