Saturday, May 23, 2009

Winterthur, Switzerland

Due to our busy schedule, I've gotten a little behind on doing these. We travelled by train from Bern to Winterthur. The Swiss trains and transit are amazing. You can literally set your watch by the trains. If the schedule says they will leave at 7:52, they mean it!! The train is comfortable, smooth and fast. Winterthur is a former industrial city with a beautiful historic city center like many of the places we have been to. They are emphasizing walking, bicycling and public transit over cars to solve their traffic congestion problems. There is great public space and it is very well used.

The City just culminated a year long public involvement process with a successful vote (70% approved it) on a master plan and the funding to implement it to construct a project that will put a roadway under ground, build a pedestrian and bike plaza between the city center and a former industrial area. They anticipate that private developers will then be attracted to fill in some of the vacant lots with new business. This model has already worked in the City and they now have many good businesses providing jobs and money to the local economy. Some of the attractiveness is the high quality of life offered in the city center.
The two photos are of a public market on one of the car free streets in the city center and a plaque on a new environmentally sustainable building that includes a readout of how much energy the building is producing with solar cells on the roof.

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