Biggest Swiss urban square gets go-ahead

The largest urban square in Switzerland will be redeveloped after a 17.2-million-franc project received the go-ahead from Zurich voters on Sunday.

Biggest Swiss urban square gets go-ahead
Image: Raumgleiter

Almost 61 percent of voters backed the redesign of the Sechseläutenplatz, a 16,000-square-metre plaza near the city’s opera house.

The development of an underground parking lot has allowed for the doubling of an area that has traditionally been used to host the Knie Circus.

It is also the site of the traditional Sechseläuten celebration where the Böög, a symbolic effigy, is burned each spring to signal the end of winter.

The square is to be resurfaced with quartzite, while the area will also feature treed sections with benches and fountains.

Among other developments, Zurich voters on Sunday approved a 400-million-franc loan for the city’s utility EWZ to install a fibre-optic cable network in the city.
The project, undertaken with Swisscom, aims to connect 240,000 homes and businesses to the high-speed data network by 2019.

Meanwhile, voters in the Zurich municipalities of Wiesendangen and Bertschikon endorsed a merger, the first in the canton since 1934, and one that is expected to spark more such amalgamations.

Elsewhere, voters in the city of Geneva on Sunday turned thumbs down on a plan to close 50 streets to cars.

More than 56 percent of citizens rejected the plan, which was to have been for a trial period of one year.

Businesses and right-wing politicians spearheaded the drive against the road closures.

However, a plan to ultimately close 200 Geneva streets to cars, backed by the city council executive, remains in force.

And the canton of Geneva, which has ultimate control over transport planning, says it will continue to examine projects to both improve pedestrian areas and the flow of traffic in the city.

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Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Zurich

In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic.