Playmobil or reality?

20. August 2016 | von


I remember that when a kid, I used to replay with Playmobil or Lego scenes of the city, that I’ve seen during the day. I particularly liked the stories where very many different types of professions were involved (like police, fireman, rescue, etc.), because then my story seemed more important and more real.


Since I moved to Cologne this remembrances are very present, due to the fact that the street where I live shows a great potential for small accidents and conflicts. And very often I have a VIP preview from the balcony of some chaotic situation there in the street. The problem is that the street is actually a reasonable big avenue with constant cars traffic. The tram rails are in the center of this street, separating both traffic directions. And perpendicularly to those two modal fluxes, is a large pedestrian crossing, also with a considerable flux of pedestrians. Not mentioning the bikes and cars driving from a very tiny street that leads to this crossing.

The biggest conflict in there is actually about the two parallels (!): cars and tram. The point is that often some people try a U-turn and forget about paying attention if any tram is coming from one of the directions, and… CRASH! Normally it is only a crash, nothing really serious that somebody would get hurt or something would explode… But anyway it is impressive to observe how such an accident already makes the city (ok… the neighborhood, maybe) stop. Police, Ambulance, the KVB, Fireman, Reporters, and probably some other people that I don’t realize get all involved in the situation. The tram in both lines has to be replaced by bus, as long as the expertise is happening. An the poor pedestrians are not allowed to cross the avenue anymore, having to deviate almost a kilometer in order to find another crossing light.


Me, as an urban planner, can’t miss the opportunity in rethinking this crossing, and how would it be safer for the trams, the pedestrians, the bikes…


I share some pictures of the last situation I’ve observed. Doesn’t it really look like Playmobil from this further distance?










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