MUNICH — (MunichNOW News) — The proposal for the reunification of the English Garden has found a large number of supporters. Citizens, the media, and politics are getting involved in this project. Even though the building costs have been estimated at around 70 million euros, which are not available at the moment, the participants still seem to edge on the project.
For nearly 50 years the “Mittlerer Ring” has cut through the Munich’s English Garden with nearly 110,000 cars passing through the park each day. If this critical urban motorway could be lowered into a nearly 400 meter long tunnel, one of the world’s largest urban parks could be reunited. Approximately 8 million park visitors a year can then enjoy the park in its entirety, and at the same time today’s congestion problems would be solved, due to the fact that traffic would run on six lanes instead of four.
The architectural team of Petra Lejeune and Hermann Grub have been committed to improving the quality of life in large cities since the 1970s, particularly with respect to improved green supply. At home and abroad they have been able to generate attention for these issues and attract the media. In Munich, the team has created a Foundation (Ein Englischer Garten GmbH), many people have been not only inspired by this project, but they have contributed to it as well.
March 25, 2010 was a beautiful sunny spring day. People were sitting on the benches in the English Garden. Between Kleinhesseloher Lake and the Isarring everything was as usual. Those who were more into walking would go further into the huge park to the quieter, more hidden spots to lie in the sun, chat, read, or eat a picnic lunch. It seemed to Petra Lejeune and Hermann Grub that a large section in the middle of this famous park has been rendered unusable by the intrusion of the noisy and smell middle ring road that surrounds the city.
“What, if anything, could be done about this?”, the couple pondered. It was then that the idea of a tunnel was born. Plans were already underway for three tunnels on the Mittlerer Ring, the first at Petualring, the second at Richard-Strauss-Str. and the third, now completed, at Luise-Kiesselbach-Platz. What about one more?
This day was almost six years ago. Six years in which the project seemed to have come to a standstill. The initiators promised from the beginning to be able to collect a lot of private donations, but the Town Hall then confirmed that hardly any donations have been made.
Moreover, a decision concerning the tunnel will be made this year, and this for four reasons: First, Petra Lejeune and Hermann Grub want to get the project running again. They know that their campaign cannot be sustained indefinitely. Second, the City Council will decide on the tunnel projects Landshuterallee and Tegernseer Landstrasse, which will be discussed in the context of the English Garden project. Third, the town hall is under increasing pressure to take action because the permit for the narrow tracks above ground expires in 2019. Lastly, town seems stronger than in the past and is willing to tackle the project politically.
The chances for the reunification of the English Garden are good, however, the city cannot afford the 70 million Euro costs on its own. Munich businesses and citizens are called upon to help. Most of the approximately 8 million annual park visitors are from Munich. The project wants to win as many supporters as possible so that the dreams of fully enjoying the park can reality.
Even though more was expected; plans for a possible tunnel through the English Garden have progressed further. To analyse the exact soil conditions a special company drilled up to 40 meters deep along the Isarring. This decision was made on behalf of city planners.
The results of exploratory drilling now form the basis of a geotechnical report, which is to be created in the coming months by outside experts. With this expertise, the Munich City tunnel designers want to compare their data from a feasibility study that the planning office Obermeyer has already developed with this new data. In this study, the experts describe in detail how a tunnel could pass under the English Garden and how it could be built there.
An unintended consequence of the smoother traffic flow resulting from the construction of the Richard-Strauss-Str. tunnel has been much more frequent traffic jams right where the Mittlerer Ring crosses the English Garden. This is the result of the entrance ramp that has no acceleration lane. The make-shift solution now is a divided roadway with a traffic light. Even with this, the traffic backs up right through the new tunnel causing long delays.
The proposed English Garden tunnel would not only make the world’s largest city park a more pleasant place, it would also relieve congestion on one of Munich’s most heavily travelled roads.