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Why Berlin’s Approach to Car Bans Is a Little Different

The German capital will experiment with banning cars on two popular retail streets—but it’s being notably more cautious than its European counterparts.
Berlin will test banning cars along the main retail section of Friedrichstrasse.
Berlin will test banning cars along the main retail section of Friedrichstrasse.Sean Gallup/Getty

Berlin is finally getting a fuller taste of the car-free trend that’s taking hold in other European cities.

This summer, the German capital has announced plans to pedestrianize some vital central streets starting in October. One experiment will ban cars from the main section of Friedrichstrasse, a long, store-filled thoroughfare that, before World War II, was considered the city’s main shopping street. Another will test daily closures on Tauentzienstrasse, another key retail street, with a view toward going permanently car-free in 2020.