Local news translated – Jan 17, 2024

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Jan. 17, 2024

Weather service warns of extreme black ice -The south of Germany is becoming a dangerous slippery slope

Snow and slippery roads are currently making it extremely difficult for drivers to get to work. The winter road clearance service is in constant operation. The German Weather Service warns of an extreme mix of black ice, snowfall and storms on Wednesday an extreme risk of black ice and ice breakage due to freezing rain.

According to the DWD, the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony will be affected either completely or partially. Considerable restrictions are to be expected for rail and air traffic.

Southwest: According to the weather service, rain will start to fall in the southwest from the second half of the night and by Wednesday evening there will be massive ice formation due to freezing rain, especially south of the Main and Moselle rivers.

At the same time, according to the meteorologists, there will be massive snowfall in the middle of Germany, which could also be stormy in some places north of the Main with up to 30 centimeters within 24 hours. There is also a threat of traffic disruptions and snowfall.  Deutsche Bahn has already warned of the nationwide impact on regional and long-distance services and has introduced goodwill rules. The tickets of travelers who postpone their journey due to the risk of severe weather on Wednesday will remain valid. In addition, train services have generally been suspended.

Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt am Main is expecting flight traffic to be severely restricted on Wednesday. Heavy snowfall and freezing rain are expected. Passengers should check the status of their flight in advance and not travel in the event of

heavy snowfall and freezing rain. Restrictions are also expected at Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart airport, according to airport spokespersons. The trigger for the extreme weather is an air mass boundary over the middle of Germany, where cold polar air from northern Europe meets warm, humid air masses from south-western Europe. In the transition and border zone, long-lasting and heavy precipitation can occur, which falls as heavy snowfall on the colder side and as freezing rain on the warmer side. (Stgt Nachrichten, Jan 17)


Deutsche Bahn reopens Stuttgart 21 construction site

Open days at the Stuttgart 21 construction site will take place again over the Easter weekend. It was recently unclear whether construction progress would allow another event of this kind. In previous years, Deutsche Bahn has counted several tens of thousands of visitors on the three days when the construction site was freely accessible.

The 2024 edition will take place over the Easter weekend. From Saturday, March 30, to Easter Monday, April 1, the construction site at the main station will be open to visitors from 10 am to 5 pm. After Deutsche Bahn recently had to admit that the costs had risen once again to 11.453 billion euros, while at the same time sticking to the opening date of December 2025, the question of when trains will actually roll through the station is likely to be the main focus of visitor interest. (Stgt Nachrichten, Jan 17)


Great relief for trades in the Böblingen district -One parking ticket for the entire district


Reduction of bureaucracy: Since the beginning of the year, a new regulation has been in force that grants craft businesses in all 26 municipalities a parking permit for their company vehicles. Other professions could also benefit from this.

If a repairman has to rush to a customer because the heating has broken down, the electrics have failed or a pipe is blocked, he shouldn’t have to worry about parking fees. This is why cities and municipalities issue so-called tradesmen’s parking permits, which grant an exemption for an annual fee. Until now, however, there was a small problem: if the work site was in a neighboring town, the parking permit was usually no longer valid. This is now a thing of the past – at least in the Böblingen district.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a district-wide parking permit for tradespeople. For an annual fee of 100 euros, businesses can register up to three license plates and park their vehicles in any permitted parking space in all 26 district municipalities. This is possible because all local councils in the district have given their approval and all 15 road traffic authorities – including the lower traffic authority at the district office – are pulling together on this project. (Stgt Nachrichten, Jan 17)


Tourism in Esslingen is expected to be a record year in 2024


Tourism in Esslingen is developing positively after the corona-related slump: after a recovery was already apparent in spring 2023, “there was a steep upward trend over the course of the year, both in day and overnight tourism,” according to a statement from the city administration.  It cites the State Statistical Office: from January to the end of October last year, Esslingen’s accommodation providers recorded around 192,600 overnight stays. This is an increase of 22 percent compared to 2022 and corresponds to the level of the record year 2019. The two months of November and December are not yet included in the statistics; these figures are still available to the state office. “However, it can be assumed that the trend will be confirmed,” emphasizes Michael Metzler, Managing Director of City Marketing and Head of Tourism. Comparing the time before the pandemic, official statistics show that overnight guests mainly come from Germany, although the proportion of foreign overnight guests is gradually increasing again. Esslingen’s tourism experts have also recorded growth in other areas of tourism. For example, the number of commissioned tours – including classics such as the “Old Town Tour”, and “Life in the Middle Ages” increased by almost 20 percent.

Regular guided tours such as “Cellar, Crypt, Catacombs”, “Night Watchman’s Stories” and “Hiking where the Wine Grows” saw even more significant growth of 25 percent. A record result was recorded in 2023 for the Esslingen canoe tours.

Head of Tourism Michael Metzler is optimistic about the new year: “We are expecting new overnight stay records in 2024.” This will not only be helped by new hotels, which will also increase the number of beds to over 2000 for the first time in Esslingen’s history. The city is also hoping for positive effects from numerous events. For example, many tens of thousands of fans from various nations are expected in Stuttgart for the five European Football Championship matches this early summer – and perhaps some of them will stay overnight in Esslingen, Metzler hopes. “Experience shows that fans often combine a visit to the stadium with a two to three-day stay and also explore the region.” There are already concrete plans to position Esslingen as an attractive travel destination. (SN, Jan 17, 2024)


Between Waldenbuch and Weil im Schönbuch – Road closure due to driven hunt


On Wednesday, January 17, a driven hunt will take place in the forest west of Waldenbuch. For this reason, the district road 1050 between Waldenbuch and Weil im Schönbuch will be closed between 9 am and 2 pm. A detour will be signposted. This was announced by the Böblingen district office.

In addition, for safety reasons, the speed on the district road K 1051 between Schönaich and Steinenbronn and on the state roads L 1185 between Schönaich and Waldenbuch and L 1208 between Waldenbuch and Dettenhausen will be reduced during the same period. (KSZ Boebliger Bote, Jan 17)