The tram. In the eyes of many, a rather outdated means of transportation. However, in recent years, the vision of a tram, integrated into the city scape, and providing an additional opportunity of mobility, has been proclaimed repeatedly.
Establishing an environmentally friendly transport system
In 2020, the danish planning office Ramboll has been commissioned to investigate the best option for Kiel to establish an environmentally friendly transportation system. After two years of investigation, the planning office proclaimed the tram to be environmentally and financially friendlier than a bus-rapit-transit-system. Therefore, the city council decided at the 17.11.2022 in large majority: Kiel will get a tram.
Kiel´s Tram in the past
But the concept of the Kieler tram is, by all means, nothing new. In fact, the last tram was shut down in 1985, having operated for almost 90 years, since its first opening in 1896.
The first idea developed from a horse track, which was built in 1881. The animals were later replaced by the first electronical carriages in 1896. More and more tracks were built and opened over the course of time. The concept of the tram had survived the second world war, but was eventually shut down.
So why would Kieler residents change their mind about the tram?
The reason for the tram
Kiel is proud to be a called a “climate-protect city” since 1995. The goal? To get as climate neutral as possible with the help of the city´s own “master plan 100% climate protection”. This entails a variety of measures to ensure their goal and reduce the climate-damaging greenhouse gases. To ensure this goal, the share of motorized individual traffic should be reduced to 25%. In 2018 it was up to 38%. However, the public transportation system in Kiel is already at its limits. Therefore, a completely new way of transport had to be investigated.
Two different options were examined by the planning office Ramboll. Their conclusion was announced in October 2022 and advised the city council to establish a tram.
With the exception of the AfD, all fractions were in favour of establishing and incorporating a tram into the city scape of Kiel.
Acceptation of the tram
However, many Kieler residents have sceptical opinions regarding a tram. “There is no space for a tram in Kiel nowadays”, Johanna Baier, 21, explained. “For example the Holtenauer: Where would a tram fit? The street is narrow as it is.” Furthermore, the construction of a tramway system requires reconstruction the city´s landscape to a certain degree: Tearing up roads in order to lay new rails which would add to the already existing problem of the construction sites bothering Kieler residents as it is.
In 2015, the idea of a tram, connecting Kiel and its surrounding counties, was denied by latter, with the exception of Plön. The resulting decision, to concentrate on an inner-city tram, has since then been recently put into a concrete plan.
The idea and implementation of a tram in Kiel continues to divide its residents. Some see it as the means of transport for a livable city, other do not see the need for it, with busses being the most relevant and reliable source of public transportation.
The first line is set to open in 2033. Until then, it remains to be seen, whether Kieler residents will fancy the new tram or not.
If you want to know more about the Kieler tram and where its line will be built, check out our Instagram channel.