Status of the people’s initiative “Verkehrswende Hessen” and the proposed Verkehrswendegesetz 2022

Status of the people’s initiative “Verkehrswende Hessen” and the proposed Verkehrswendegesetz 2022

The collection of signatures for the referendum ” Verkehrswende in Hessen ” started on September 1, 2021 – with the help of the #Verkehrswendegesetz , an alliance of ADFC Hessen, VCD Hessen and FUSS eV Hessen wants to make the means of transport of the environmental association in Hessen significantly more attractive. This article is intended to provide information about the goals of the referendum and the current status of the collection of signatures.

ADFC Hesse, VCD Hesse and FUSS eV Hesse, together with the Radentscheid Darmstadt, Frankfurt am Main, Kassel and Offenbach, have drawn up a traffic turning law for Hesse, which is to become applicable law. In a first step of the process, the alliance has been collecting signatures from citizens entitled to vote in Hesse since September 1, 2021 in order to formally apply for approval of the referendum. The initiative is supported by BUND Hessen, Greenpeace and Naturfreunde Hessen as well as PRO BAHN Hessen and Pro RegioTram Mittelhessen (see sponsors ).

Verkehrswende Hessen Volksbegehren Unterschriftensammlung
Collection of signatures in Frankfurt – Photo: Tim Becker, Frankfurt am Main

Goals of the referendum

The proposed Traffic Turnaround Act (the full text of which can be found here ) is intended to make the types of transport in the environmental network – walking, cycling, bus and train – so attractive that at least 65 percent of passenger traffic in Hesse can be handled as a result. This requires an increase of around 20 percentage points. 

“Hesse needs a real turnaround in traffic in order to achieve good mobility for everyone, more traffic safety, a higher quality of life in cities and communities and effective climate protection,” says Robert Wöhler from Kassel, one of the three shop stewards of the referendum and campaigner for the traffic turnaround in Hesse. In the opinion of the alliance, a referendum is the best way to comprehensively accelerate the necessary conditions for a traffic turnaround.

Important goals of the law are to improve road safety, especially on the way to school. There should be school route maps for classes 1 to 7 in all schools. With more space for wide sidewalks and a main footpath network in every town, pedestrian traffic is being upgraded. A Hesse-wide cycle network is intended to significantly improve the connections between cities and communities for cyclists. Better, wider and consistent cycle paths within the towns are intended to advance the traffic turnaround in Hesse.

“All in all, there must be many more attractive alternatives to car traffic, especially in the rural regions of Hesse,” demands confidant Stephan Voeth from Darmstadt. Therefore, local public transport should become more efficient overall, serve more places and offer connections so frequently that there is a Hessen cycle. Between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m., the next medium-sized or large center should be accessible from any location once an hour.

legal

When designing the Traffic Turnaround Act, it had to be taken into account that no federal regulations could be changed and no intervention in the budget was allowed, according to the alliance. “It is all the more important to implement what is possible. To do this, there must be a better linking of information in Hessen and the rapid implementation of concepts, planning and construction for the development of sustainable mobility,” emphasized spokesperson Katalin Saary, traffic planner from Reinheim.

Verkehrswende Hessen Volksbegehren
Shop stewards signing – Photo: Tim Becker, Frankfurt am Main

With the signing of the first application sheets by the three persons of trust, the collection of signatures officially began on September 1st, 2021. Immediately afterwards, activists began collecting signatures from citizens on the streets of Frankfurt.

Collection Points and Procedures

All collection points for the submission of signatures can be found under the following link – there are now many of them in central Hesse. For the referendum to be approved, around 45,000 signatures (exactly: 43,728 votes) of eligible voters residing in Hesse must be collected.


One year is allowed to collect the signatures. The alliance wants to hand over the collected signatures to the state government in Wiesbaden on August 28, 2022 – the collection will be completed by mid-July so that there is still enough time to have the signatures confirmed by the municipalities. After the handover, the state government must make a decision on the admissibility of the referendum within one month, in order to then move on to stage 2 of the people’s legislative process, described in Articles 117 and 124 of the Hessian Constitution (HV), the referendum .

If this succeeds, the state returning officer decides on the admissibility of the referendum. Another signature campaign could then begin – the actual referendum. If it is successful, the state parliament must deal with the proposed law. If the law is not passed, a referendum is possible. The organizers are aiming for 2023.

“So far, no law has come about in Hesse by way of popular legislation because the necessary referendums have either not been approved or have not been supported by enough voters,” explained the state returning officer.

Interested parties can find up-to-date information on the nationwide collection of signatures and support for the campaign on the website  verkehrswende-hessen.de .

About the referendum “Traffic turnaround in Hesse”

The sponsors of the referendum “Traffic turnaround in Hesse” is made up of the following organizations: General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) Hesse, Traffic Club Germany (VCD) Hesse, German Pedestrian Association (FUSS) Hesse, Radentscheid Darmstadt, Radentscheid Frankfurt am Main, Radentscheid Kassel, Radentscheid Offenbach. Supporters of the referendum are: Bund für Umwelt- und Naturschutz (BUND) Hessen, Greenpeace, Naturfreunde Hessen as well as PRO BAHN Hessen and Pro RegioTram Mittelhessen.

Cover and article image: Alliance’s own graphics.

1390 782 Christopher Goebel
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