Interview with Caprice Mathar, Mobility Manager of the City of Mönchengladbach
With interest to begin providing coverage on aspects of European Mobility Week, we reached out to the city of Mönchengladbach to learn more about their city’s activities surrounding this week. Mönchengladbach was also a winner of European Mobility Week’s 2020 award for larger municipalities.
When was European Mobility Week (EMW) established in Mönchengladbach and why?
Caprice Mathar: In Mönchengladbach the EMW was established in 2016 to inform our citizens and to raise awareness for sustainable mobility and quality of public space. We started in 2016 with a really small EMW with just three or four actions and a network consisting of three people. We were asked if organizing the EMW is not simply a waste of time. But we stuck to the week with the belief that it will become an awesome event with creative and great actions.
During the years the network and thus the publicity were growing. We found a lot of partners, sponsors and were supported by the citizens. We work together with:
- companies and different municipals
- non-profit associations and initiatives
- schools and kindergartens
- and most importantly: our citizens
Every year we also try something new like creating our first car-free day, implementing the Parking Day and later on developed it into Parking Week. The International Parking Day takes place every year on the third Friday in September. On this day, parking lots should be used for creative actions. Due to the pandemic situation last year we had a Parking week so that no one spot became too crowded.
Car-free day is a very exciting initiative that we would like to hear more about. What is the goal of Car-Free day?
Caprice Mathar: One important event within the framework of EMW was our “Mobility Day”. Bismarck Street, one of the major traffic axes in Mönchengladbach, is closed to car traffic for one day during EMW since 2016. Since 2018 the roadways and sidewalks have become an area of action and exhibition – for young and old. As an information event, the „Tag der Mobilität” was intended to show local citizens that sustainable mobility improves the quality of life for everyone and that there are a lot of opportunities to move in an environmentally and climate-friendly manner.
Initiatives from the city and the region provided information about where and how they are committed to climate-friendly mobility issues, bicycle dealers presented their vehicles, start-ups their ideas. Neighborhood initiatives, cultural groups and environmental initiatives also took part in this event with creative ideas.
Overall we had 27 different exhibitors. The city of Mönchengladbach was also represented and provided information about the goals of mobility management in the city. This is a great way to get in contact with our citizens.
How can individuals participate in European Mobility Week?
Caprice Mathar: Anyone who wants to can join in in Mönchengladbach. Everyone, whether citizen, association, initiative, school, kindergarten or company, to name a few examples, is welcome. In the form of a workshop, we offer support in developing ideas. We provide support with organizational questions such as permission to carry out the activity.
A good example for participation is Parking Day. Normally this is a huge event in the EMW in Mönchengladbach. Last year, we decided to have a parking week due to the pandemic situation: lots of different parking lots were used for other purposes including:
- Pump Track
- Open air art gallery
- Meeting spot for the neighbourhood (just to name a few)
Numerous initiatives supported the parking week. That way, more people could take part in European Mobility Week, while keeping their distance. Because of the success in the last year, we will offer this in 2021, too.
Furthermore, people organized for example a Fancy Women Bike Ride, a Kidical Mass or a Free walking-frame training.
For 2021 we still collecting new actions and are happy that we have various actions already scheduled, like a science lab on parking lots.
Further Information: Europäische Mobilitätswoche – Moenchengladbach