Local news translated – Oct 18, 2023

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

Host Nation Update, Oct. 18, 2023

Stuttgart Schlossplatz – The set-up for the 25th “Wintertraum” has started

A few days ago, summer temperatures prevailed in Stuttgart, now already the 25th “Wintertraum” is getting closer, and at the Schlossplatz, the set-up for the roller skating rink and the booths has begun. The anniversary season starts on November 1.

Those who do not have their own roller skates can rent some on the spot.

The open-air attraction, which always invites visitors to dream in winter in the heart of Stuttgart, has proven to be a good reason to drink mulled wine or enjoy the bratwurst on Schlossplatz for 25 years – and this long before the Christmas market starts on November 29.  On November 1, the anniversary season for winter dreaming begins – until January 7, the 25th birthday will be celebrated. The prices, says showman Stefan Kinzler on Tuesday our editorial office, will not be increased. Therefore, the mulled wine still costs 4.50 euros. One will extend the menu this year, he announces. What that will be exactly, one will announce only at the premiere.

Ferris wheel starts on 28 October

Open is the winter dream officially from 11 to 22.30 o’clock daily. But usually it went until 23 o’clock, until the glasses were emptied. The fact that this year the Christmas market will also run longer, namely for the first time from Thursday to Saturday until 11 pm, Stefan Kinzler is not surprised. “If it’s attractive, people like to do it,” he says. Things are also set to get attractive on another side of the Schlossplatz: The Ferris wheel will start its third season on October 28 in the courtyard of the Neues Schloss. The set up work began there on Tuesday.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 18)

After rockets hit Gaza Strip Hospital – Pro-Palestinian rallies in Stuttgart and Mannheim

Dozens of people gathered for pro-Palestinian rallies in Stuttgart and Mannheim on Tuesday evening after rockets hit a hospital in the Gaza Strip. Sixty people gathered at the marketplace in Mannheim, 40 to 50 in Stuttgart, police told Deutsche Presse-Agentur Wednesday night. Occasionally, Palestinian flags were shown. The gatherings were peaceful and there were no special incidents, the police headquarters said.  Hundreds of people were killed and injured in the rocket strike on the hospital in the Gaza Strip, according to their Ministry of Health. According to Palestinian sources, this emanated from Israeli bombardment. Israel’s military blamed the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. According to the report, information points to a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian militant organization. (Stgt Nachrichten, Oct 18)

Controversial bike bridge in Böblingen 

Construction of the controversial bike bridge over Panzerstrasse in Böblingen is expected to begin next Thursday. For many cyclists, it is in the wrong place.

Since May 2019, cyclists have been whizzing along the wide asphalt expressway from Stuttgart-Rohr to Böblingen-Ost. “Sometimes you just want to speed straight ahead through the forest. That works better here than usual,”. Only he had to brake properly at the Panzerstrasse so far, because here the cycle track ended abruptly. The planners had built a traffic island to make it easier for cyclists to cross, but “that was pretty rubbish,” says Peter Grotz, chairman of the ADFC Kreis Böblingen. “When there’s a lot of traffic in the morning, you just can’t get across there.”  Although a traffic light would have been conceivable, that would contradict the idea of a bicycle expressway, which is supposed to allow cruising speeds of 20 kilometers per hour with a width of four meters, if possible without crossings. After a long discussion, the decision was made in favor of a steel bridge. After the money from the federal and state governments was recently transferred to the account of the Böblingen district, the groundbreaking ceremony can take place, scheduled for October 26. Fences and material containers are already in place, and everything should be ready in September 2024.

The structure, which elegantly spans the district road 1057, costs 5.8 million euros; the road is named “Panzerstrasse” (tank road) in Böblingen after the adjacent Panzer Kaserne, the home of the American armed forces. More than three quarters of the amount is being paid by the state and federal governments. Around 3.8 million euros came from the state’s road construction funding pot, while the federal government contributed 770,000 euros from its special bike lanes program. Thanks to this new bridge, commuters and cyclists should be able to cross the road quickly and safely. The higher-level route plan prescribes the route via the Thermalbad intersection in the direction of Böblingen’s city center to Elbenplatz. Then the route will continue to Herrenberg.  At peak times, about 1,200 cyclists ride there every day, but not all of them take the asphalt path. Those who know their way around turn off into the forest in the direction of Stuttgart shortly after the thermal bath junction and use the so-called “sand path”. The graveled route takes you past the Spatzensee lake to the AWO forest home – and vice versa. Compared to the current route, this saves a few hundred meters of distance and around 20 meters of elevation.  “There would have been even fewer elevation meters if the route had followed the old B 14,” says ADFC Chairman Peter Grotz, who is 100 percent behind the current route, describing the discussions about the route at the time. At the time, the Sandweg was actually briefly discussed as a cycle route, but from a forestry point of view it was problematic because it would have sealed too much soil. There was also a citizens’ initiative against the high-speed bike path. Citizens from Vaihingen did not want a bicycle highway in the middle of the forest or found the old humpbacked cobblestone road worthy of protection in terms of historic preservation. As a compromise, a few meters of cobblestones were preserved just before Stuttgart-Rohr.  During the planning phase of the bridge, there were other disruptive noises. For one thing, the city of Böblingen reacted in a huff because it was only involved at a late stage. In addition, there was initially no place in Böblingen where the approximately 30 acres of forest that would fall victim to the intervention could have been reforested.   The district found an unusual solution and created a compensatory measure in Aidlingen. On the other hand, the bridge became more and more expensive

Originally, the planners had assumed 2.2 million euros. But in mid-2022, the most favorable offer was just under eight million euros – the project was temporarily put on hold. Finally, a solution was found for 5.8 million euros – ultimately acceptable to the district councils.  The first high-speed cycle path in Baden-Württemberg is to be 25 kilometers long and will connect Stuttgart with Herrenberg on a route that should be as free of intersections as possible. It is currently approaching Böblingen from two points. In the south, a 1.6-kilometer section near Ehningen was opened in 2023. 

The north is already further along. The section from Stuttgart/ Rohr, which was built four years ago and runs along the dead-straight former Roman road, is about eight kilometers long in total.  Construction is being carried out without interrupting traffic. Nighttime closures will only be necessary for lifting the individual bridge segments, and there will also be a one-time full closure of the district road 1057 when the main section of the bridge is installed. This will take longer and will happen over a weekend. During the construction period, bicycle and pedestrian traffic will be diverted via a crossing aid nearby – but cyclists familiar with the area may continue to ride via Sandweg.

(Stgt Nachrichten, Oct 17)