Monthly Archives: April 2010

Activist Profile: VCD

Verkehrsclub Deutschland : Transportation Club of Germany

The VCD (german) is the ecological alternative to Germany’s version of AAA. So if AAA represents primarily the traditional automotive interests, then the VCD advocates for the interests of not only bicycle commuters, mass transit riders and pedestrians but also ecologically conscious drivers. What I find impressive about the VCD is how organized they are. They’re a Germany-wide organization with local subgroups who are active in front of city hall as well as within the political system. Continue reading

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Parking and the Public Service Employee

Übrigens: Nach einem Urteil des Landesar­beitsgerichts Schleswig-Holstein von 2001 (AZ 1 Sa 646 b/00) haben Arbeitnehmer im öffentlichen Dienst keinen Anspruch auf einen kostenlosen Parkplatz.

as per VCD Landesverband Nord (german)

Public service employees in the state of Schleswig-Hostein are not entitled to a free parking place.

I would love to see this policy instituted in NYC. It would go a long way to start changing a culture of expectancy and entitlement. Accompanying policies would promote use of public transit as well as bicycle commuting to get to work. Actions that employers could take, as suggested by the Transportation Club of Germany, an alternative to Germany’s equivalent of AAA, include:

the option to exchange a car parking spot for a bicycle provided by the employer

offering bicycle repair workshops at the workplace

sponsoring various bicycle events outside the workplace

a bicycle lottery – in which once a month or so a random name is drawn from a hat and if that person rode her bike to work she receives a related prize (users of public transit or those who walked are also eligible, only car-drivers are excluded)

providing showering and changing facilities as well as a place to hang wet clothing or rain gear

among other possibilities. For a comparison of the situation in NYC (and surroundings), here are just a few of the issues and the players involved:

NYPD here and here

Teachers Union here

Complaining residents who don’t want the laws to apply to them (and the City Council who supports them) here

MTA here

Mayor Bloomberg here

Chambors of Commerce/BIDs here, here and here

This theme deserves more research. A profile of the VCD (Transportation Club of Germany) is also forthcoming.