In a shock announcement this morning the town mayor outlined an ambitious plan to create a cycling network in Ostfildern. This is part of a local economic stimulus package aimed at creating jobs and setting the economy on a sustainable footing.

The statement from the mayors office read: “It is becoming clear that giving cars priority simply reduces the quality of life for all, while encouraging people to use alternative transport forms has been shown to help improve living standards in towns, drive down healthcare costs and increase the profits of local businesses.”

Among the main measures are priority for bicycles at intersections, a marked cycle network running through all the parts of the town, red cycle lanes giving bikes priority on side roads, resurfacing existing routes between parts of the town, bicycle lockers at metro stations, and two bays given over to cycle use in the main underground garages.

Speaking at the presentation the Major said: “We realised that to continue with ‘business as usual’ would simply lead to more congestion, so we decided that we need to think more carefully about how we want transport and our lifestyles to look in 20 years time. ”

While the possibility of high oil prices and congestion were a factor the major said simple common sense had driven the programme: “For a tiny investment, we can accommodate far more people, and at a fraction of the cost of providing infrastructure for cars, while making life better for everyone. We want children in Ostfildern to be able to cycle to school without fear, and breathe fresh air, not sit in cars stuck in traffic or play indoors for fear of the fumes. It’s remarkable that this took so long.”

Work is expected to begin in Summer.