Many routes to a sustainable city

The basic concept underlying transport planning for HafenCity is one of sustainability: priority in this new part of town goes to non-motorized modes of transport and public carriers

HafenCity is qutie often starting point or destination of bicycle tours (© ELBE&FLUT) Start slideshow

Sustainability, as an ecological and social quality, is one of the most important benchmarks steering transport planning in HafenCity. Its inner-city, central location and fine-meshed mix of work, leisure and residential uses make it a district of short distances. There are few extended blocks of buildings. Whereas contiguous lines of housing create long roundabout routes in other parts of town, in HafenCity, pedestrians and cyclists can even make their way using private spaces between individual buildings.

This means that the network of footpaths and cycling trails can be unusually dense. Compared with the sought-after 19th century residential districts of Hamburg, the ratio of footways to roadways in HafenCity is a lot more favorable: pedestrians have two and a half kilometers of pathway more at their disposal here than motorists - in the suburb of Eimsbüttel, for instance, the ratio is 5:4. And here about 70 per cent of pathways are isolated from motor traffic, often running parallel to the water’s edge.

The problem of stationary vehicles has been reduced to a minimum, since the interiors of the flood-secure plinths of buildings are used for underground parking. The avoidance of above-ground parking garages means that the ground surface is a more intensively and carefully used resource.
Another major role in developing a sustainable infrastructure for the new district is played by public transport. As of November 28 2012, its central transport artery will be the new U4 underground subway. (The official timetable dates from December 9 and will be preceded by special services.) When HafenCity is fully developed, the U4 line is expected to be used by around 35,000 people a day, which adds up to around 26,000 fewer car journeys every day. But at the end of 2012, the benefits of the new subway will already be enjoyed by more than 450 businesses with some 9,000 employees, the 1,800 HafenCity residents and thousands of visitors every day.

The U4 is complemented by other public local transport services: easily reached to the west and north of HafenCity are the existing Baumwall (U3) und Messberg (U1) underground stations. Meanwhile on the water, HADAG’s number 72 ferry line will be serving the Elbphilharmonie landing stage from December 9. The route begins at Landungsbrücken and also stops at Arningstrasse station on the opposite bank of the Elbe River. Two more ferry stops are to come – at HafenCity University and the Elbbrücken. In addition, various harbor launch jetties, e.g. in Magdeburger Hafen and Baakenhafen are operating.
Bus lines operated into HafenCity by Hamburger Hochbahn continue. From December 9, 2012, two lines will serve HafenCity, offering additional connections to junctions in the Hamburg public transport system. (Until the change of timetable, the lines 3, 4 and 6 continue services unchanged. Line 6 will then run along Am Sandtorkai towards western HafenCity and the Speicherstadt. The new 111 line from Altona crosses the new district via Baumwall (U3 subway station) to Shanghaiallee. The most innovative service is run by line number 6, which uses pollution-free, fuel-cell-driven buses.

Throughout Hamburg’s inner city, public transport and non-motorized transport are becoming more integrated:  a cycle rental system run by DB AG was launched in summer 2009. HafenCity alone will offer four bike stations. The first three have been installed since fall 2010 by the Unilever building on Strandkai, and on the street at Am Kaiserkai and Osakaallee (across from 25hours Hotel HafenCity). This makes it easy to reach HafenCity comfortably by public transport from other districts or from within the Hamburg Metropolitan Region - and then hop onto a bicycle.