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Textaufgabe 1

Aufgaben
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Superhighway to cycling heaven – or just a hell of a mess?

$\;$
They are “doing more damage to London,” said the former chancellor Lord Lawson in the House of Lords, “than almost anything since the Blitz.” In the same spirit of absurdist hyperbole, they might be said to be the most transformative public works since Joseph Bazalgette[1] built London’s sewers and river embankments. They are not, but they do have the potential to change the spirit and character of the capital
5
and of other cities that follow the same path, as well as making its transport cleaner, healthier, safer, more efficient and better able to deal with growing pressure of numbers. They might even prove that the city’s former mayor Boris Johnson was capable of doing something right.
“They” are the cycle superhighways, the most conspicuous of several measures promoted under Johnson. They add up to an unprecedented plan, which is to make the sprawling, awkward, inconsistent city of
10
London bike-friendly. The places most often cited for the exemplariness of their cycling provision – Amsterdam, Copenhagen, more recently Manhattan – were already more ordered, compact and coherent in their layout. In London, the street pattern changes moment by moment, straight to winding, leafy to truck- thronged, wide to narrow.
This in turn reflects the politics of the city, in which power is diffused among its 32 boroughs, plus the City
15
of London, each with its own identity and attitudes. The city’s mayors, for all their ability to attract headlines, have limited means to enforce their will. The superhighway network therefore has to deal with the fact that the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea doesn’t want them on its land, meaning there will be a highway-free void in the middle of the capital. In the City, meanwhile, the impatient, assertive people who work for the financial industry won’t wait long for the red man to turn green, which means they don’t take
20
well to the elaborate multi-phase traffic lights, at which bikes, cars and pedestrians must patiently wait their turn.
Andrew Gilligan, the journalist who became Johnson’s cycling commissioner in 2013, says that “a lot of councils are really cowardly” and that while majorities usually support cycling schemes, local politicians are easily impressed by vocal minorities. In Kensington and Chelsea, he says, it only needed 15 objections from
25
residents for one proposal to be stopped. It therefore required Johnson’s “leadership” and investment of “significant political capital” to make anything happen. […]
Cycling infrastructure, as commonsensical and humdrum as it might seem, is not just about engineering. It is political, cultural and social. It has to reconcile territorial disputes between people on bikes, people in vehicles and people on foot and between different kinds of cyclist. It can take on aspects of class conflict,
30
in which drivers sometimes cast themselves, counterintuitively, as underdog victims of a two-wheeled elite. It obliges choices as to what kind of city its citizens and politicians want, with what balance of public benefits and private freedoms and for whom. […]
The route, called the east-west cycle superhighway, is contentious. Taxi drivers hate it. It affects the car-bound journeys of people of power and influence […]: Gilligan says that Boris “kept being harassed by MPs,
35
colleagues plucking at his sleeve and complaining that their drive from wherever had got longer by so many minutes”. […]
The logic, says Gilligan, is that London is facing ever more demand for transport and that encouraging bicycle use is the best way to meet this demand. Building more roads on the congested and high-priced land is physically and politically unfeasible. Expanding the underground network is slow and expensive. A
40
cycling commuter takes up much less space than one in a car, which rather obviously means that they use the existing roads more efficiently. Cycling has the added benefit of reducing pollution and benefiting the health of participants, at least of those who don’t get injured.
What stops more people riding bikes is danger and the perception of danger. […] The idea of superhighways and allied measures is both to be safer and to feel safer, so that more cautious cyclists will
45
venture out. Few school runs are made by bike and campaigners want to change this.
In its current state, the incomplete system imperfectly achieves these aims. The Embankment[2] stretch is mostly glorious – “Just before it opened I had trucks snarling down my back,” says one user. “Afterwards, I could chat to a colleague as we went along” – but it unravels into confusion at its end. Elsewhere, the network can be inconsistent and bewildering. Municipal sphinxes have left riddling signs that have to be
50
interpreted at speed: turn- right-give-way-cross-turn-left, turn right in two phases only, go left in order to go right. Inscrutable numbers and symbols refer to a higher concept that is imperfectly explained.
There is a plethora[3] of special conditions, works of intellectual ingenuity that as soon as comprehended change into something else. You have to decipher which half-defaced cycle logo on the pavement and which little blue sign is telling you where to go and how to behave in relation to pedestrians. They, also
55
confused, may swear at you in the belief that you are encroaching on their space. At some point on an unfamiliar route you are likely to lose the thread and find yourself discharged into the hostile realm of HGVs[4]. It resembles an old-fashioned board game: go back three spaces, throw a double to avoid the Dark Forest or a six to find the Magic Bridge. […]
There is a strong suspicion that Boris Johnson rushed through his cycling plans in order to claim credit
60
before his mayoralty expired, with the combination of self-aggrandisement and inattention to detail that typified his other grand projects. There are indeed glitches. […] But, given the blind unreason of Lord Lawson, and the capacity for obstruction offered by the complexities of improving cycling in London, this is an occasion to be grateful for his gung-ho[5] spirit.
From: Rowan Moore, “Superhighway to cycling heaven – or just a hell of a mess?”, in:
https://www.theguardian.com/
lifeandstyle/2016/aug/07/london-cycle-superhighways-heaven-or-hell, August 7, 2016 (abridged; last visited: December 15, 2016)

Annotations:
[1] Joseph Bazalgette: 19th-century English civil engineer
[2] Embankment: road and river-walk along the Thames in central London
[3] plethora: (formal) very large number
[4] HGV: heavy goods vehicle
[5] gung-ho: here (informal): extremely eager to do sth.

Questions on the text

Answer the following questions using your own words as far as is appropriate. Quote correctly.
1.
Describe the cycle superhighway project and its aims.
2.
Outline the reactions to the project and the problems involved.
3.
Examine how the writer uses language in the headline and the first two paragraphs to arouse the reader's interest as well as to reveal his own attitude. Give four examples.
#outline#examination#description

Composition

Choose one of the following topics. Write about 200 to 250 words.
1.
It is the state's responsibility to make its citizens behave in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Do you agree?
2.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, physicist)
Comment on this statement.
3.
It should be illegal to make journeys of less than two miles by car.
Discuss.
4.
Describe, interpret and comment on the following cartoon.
Textaufgabe 1
Textaufgabe 1
(first published around 1934 in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo)
From: www.voleospeed.co.uk
#interpretation#discussion#cartoon#comment#composition
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Questions on the text

$\blacktriangleright$  1. Describe project and aims of supercycle highway
  • measure to make windy streets and routes in London more bike-friendly
  • some of London's boroughs are against it, which will result in a void in the middle of London
  • commuters don't have to wait as long anymore at traffic lights
  • political, cultural and social functions $\rightarrow$ supposed to reconcile territorial disputes between bikers, pedestrians, drivers
  • London has to deal with more demand for transport $\rightarrow$ bicycle is a good option, building new roads is expensive, expanding underground is slow
  • cyclists don't need as much space, reduce pollution and biking benefits health
  • idea of superhighway: to be safer and to feel safer in order to attract more cyclists
  • parents who drive their kids to school might consider doing so by bike due to superhighways
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Reactions and problems
  • former chancellor Lord Lawson thinks that the superhighway would do more damage than the Blitz (bombing that destroyed parts of London)
  • boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea don't want superhighway, received 15 objections from residents in order to stop proposal $\rightarrow$ politicians influenced by locals
  • former mayor Boris Johnson had pushed process of building superhighway through his leadership and investment of political capital
  • taxi drivers hate highway $\rightarrow$ affects car-bound journeys of powerful and influential people (ride takes much longer)
  • colleagues whose taxi ride takes longer complain to Boris Johnson
  • system is incomplete, yet people love it because they feel safer from trucks
  • superhighway is confusing: disorienting signs, cryptical numbers and symbols, special conditions on how to behave when pedestrians are around, like a labyrinth
  • Johnson was said to having built the superhighway in a rush in order to claim credit for it
  • still, superhighway is improvement to cycling in London
$\blacktriangleright$  3. Use of language
  • "superhighway to cycling heaven - or just a hell of a mess"
    $\rightarrow$ hint to ACDC's "highway to hell"
    $\rightarrow$ irony/contrast: heaven - hell
    $\rightarrow$ superhighway is both a blessing for cyclists in general, but needs to be improved in some places
  • hyperbole/allusion: according to former chancellor Lord Lawson "[superhighways] are doing more damage than […] the Blitz" (l. 1-2)
    $\rightarrow$ exaggerated since the Blitz was the bombing that nearly destroyed London
  • hyperbole: "most transformative public works since […] sewers" (l. 3)
    $\rightarrow$ author exaggerates in the same way than Lord Lawson by saying that superhighways are a revolutionizing innovation
    $\rightarrow$ a few words later, author withdraws exaggeration but claims that superhighways still have great potential
  • comparison: "other cities that follow the same path" (l. 5)
    $\rightarrow$ author sets London on the same level with Manhattan or Amsterdam for instance
  • enumeration: "cleaner, healthier, safer, more efficient and better able to deal with growing pressure of numbers" (l. 5-6)
    $\rightarrow$ superhighway provides solution for all the problems that London faces
  • use of pronoun "they" instead of "superhighways"
    $\rightarrow$ reader doesn't really know what the text is about until second paragraph, arouses interest
  • personification: "the sprawling, awkward, inconsistent city of London bike-friendly" (l. 9-10)
    $\rightarrow$ superhighway supposed to bring more order and accuracy to London

Composition

$\blacktriangleright$  1. Discuss state's responsibility to make citizens behave environmentally friendly
Pro:
  • some obligations should be dictated by the state like energy-saving lightbulbs
  • school lunch should be healthy and locally produced or should in general be introduced like that to all schools where children have classes in the afternoon (some parents don't have the resources to provide their child with such a lunch)
  • state should intervene with regard to cars' emissions (already does so by limiting the access of certain cars to cities)
  • it is in the state's interest to make citizens behave environmentally friendly
    $\rightarrow$ if there is less pollution, people are less likely to get sick (asthma, lung cancer, …)
    $\rightarrow$ less expenses for health insurance
    $\rightarrow$ preservation of human resources
  • state's responsibility to deal with environmental protection on the meta-level
    $\rightarrow$ subsidization of renewable energy production
    $\rightarrow$ shutdown of nuclear power plants
Con:
  • it's everyone's individual responsibility
  • state cannot force people to behave environmentally friendly
  • it is in everyone's own interest to hold the Ecological Footprint at a minimum
  • state should be a role model and set an example for environmental protection and thus subsidize environmentally friendly products or services
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Comment on statement
  • if you stop moving with a bike, you will fall
  • statement entails that you need to keep moving in life, otherwise you will lose your focus
  • $\rightarrow$ balance = focus
  • you should always keep moving in life, if not, you will be stuck at some point in time and you will dismount the bike and you might never pick up riding again if you got used to not riding a bike
  • sometimes, you don't know where your path will lead you, but if you keep going, you will find your way by yourself
  • keeping it up even when you struggle to do so or when it is hard to not putting your feet on the ground will make you stronger - both mentally and physically
  • continuing to ride the bike (or to face problems) will brace you for future trouble
  • you will reach your goals sooner when you keep moving
  • not getting distracted from your path of life
$\blacktriangleright$  3. Illegal to make journeys of less than 2 miles by car?
Pro:
  • people would walk or use the bike more often $\rightarrow$ healthier, would help to fight obesity
  • less rides to doctors or bakeries or similar $\rightarrow$ less air pollution
  • costs for fuel would go down
  • cars will need less repairs because short trips damage engines
  • not as many tire replacements
  • being role model for children $\rightarrow$ more likely to walk or bike if parents set an example
  • less accidents due to less traffic
  • safer for children to walk or bike around by themselves
Con:
  • elderly people are often not able to walk 2 miles to go grocery shopping and to carry back all their groceries
  • sometimes, institutions/shops/doctors are not in walking distance (especially on countryside)
  • sometimes dangerous due to lack of sidewalk
  • crazy weather conditions like snow storms or heavy downfall
$\blacktriangleright$  4. Describe, interpret, comment on cartoon
  • cartoon shows a wide road, divided into separate lanes, with some lanes on top of each other
  • every type of movement has its own lane (bus, bike, fire engine, people with strollers, pedestrians)
  • vehicles predominant, pedestrians have to take up high risks in order to cross street
  • police offer sitting on some kind of swing $\rightarrow$ not in charge, powerless from above if anything would happen
  • cyclist's lane very narrow and packed $\rightarrow$ will at some point in time retreat in favor of cars' lane
  • traffic not bothered by cyclists and pedestrians
  • cartoonist satirizes the concept of separating out different types of traffic on the roads
  • ironic "Safety first" poster on the bus, and the poster for "Skids tyres" $\rightarrow$ pedestrians sailing overhead and high speed motor traffic
  • subtitle "We'll all go our own way home" $\rightarrow$ true, but to what expenses (for cyclists and pedestrians)?
  • separate provision on the roads for each of these vehicle types had seemed an absurd idea back then, on the assumption that the future would not look very different to the past
  • cars started to drive all other traffic off the roads, by their sheer numbers as well as the danger they posed to other road-users
  • result of cycle paths would be to force those cyclists into an inadequate space
  • cycling conditions worsened so that cycling became a thing of the past in Britain
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Questions on the text

$\blacktriangleright$  1. Describe project and aims of supercycle highway
The cycle superhighways that have been introduced in the city of London are a measure to make the windy streets and routes in London more bike-friendly. However, some of London's boroughs are against it, this will result in a void in the middle of London, meaning that not everywhere will be highways for bicycles. Due to that highway, commuters riding a bike do not have to wait that long anymore at traffic lights but can ride to their office and back home without greater interruptions. The highway will have political, cultural and social functions as well: it is supposed to reconcile the territorial disputes between bikers, pedestrians and drivers that have been going on for a while. Throughout the past years, London has had to deal with more demand for transport - and the bicycle is the best option here since building new roads is expensive and expanding the underground system will take a long time. There are also a lot of benefits of increasing bike traffic by building a superhighway for them. Cyclists don't need as much space, they reduce pollution and in addition, biking benefits the health. The idea behind the superhighway is simple, yet thought through though: to be safer and to feel safer in order to attract more cyclists. Parents who usually drive their kids to school might also consider doing so by bike due to the superhighways for instance.
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Reactions and problems
There has been a lot of reactions to and problems with the superhighway. Former chancellor Lord Lawson for instance thinks that the superhighway would do more damage than the Blitz (a bombing that destroyed some parts of London). The boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea also don't want the superhighway and they received 15 objections from residents in order to stop the proposal. Hence, the politicians are influenced by the locals. Yet, former mayor Boris Johnson had pushed process of building the superhighway through his leadership and through his investment of political capital. He was said to having built the superhighway in a rush in order to claim credit for it. His colleagues whose taxi ride takes longer due to the superhighway complain to Boris Johnson as well as to their taxi drivers. They hate the highway since it affects car-bound journeys of powerful and influential people as the ride takes much longer. In addition, the system is incomplete, but people still love it because they feel safer from trucks. Also, the superhighway is confusing: there are disorienting signs, cryptical numbers and symbols and special conditions on how to behave when pedestrians are around. To sum it up, the superhighway sometimes feels like a labyrinth. Still, the superhighway is an improvement to cycling in London.
$\blacktriangleright$  3. Use of language
The author uses different stylistic devices in order to deliver the message of the article. Already the headline of the article "superhighway to cycling heaven - or just a hell of a mess" can be seen as a means to get to the reader: it might be a hint to ACDC's song "highway to hell" and also provides a contrast between heaven and hell. This means that the superhighway is both a blessing for cyclists in general, but also needs to be improved in some places. Moore also uses hyperboles such as "[superhighways] are doing more damage than […] the Blitz" (l. 1-2) or "most transformative public works since […] sewers" (l. 3) in order to ridicule the people who deem the superhighways unnecessary and who think that building the superhighway is doing damage to the London infrastructure system. With the enumeration "cleaner, healthier, safer, more efficient and better able to deal with growing pressure of numbers" (l. 5-6) the author tries to convince the reader that the superhighway is a solution for all the problems that London faces. The use of pronoun "they" instead of "superhighways" arouses interest in the reader since he or she doesn't really know what the text is about until second paragraph.

Composition

$\blacktriangleright$  1. Discuss state's responsibility to make citizens behave environmentally friendly
Nowadays, we face a lot of problems regarding environmental protection like plastic-filled oceans, polluted air or the waste of resources. In order to stop that, something needs to be changed on the meta-level. The state someone is living in might be an option to do so.
Introduction
environmental problems
The state can be a role model when it comes to making citizens behave environmentally friendly. Some obligations should be dictated by the state like energy-saving lightbulbs for instance. The state should also intervene with regard to the emissions of some cars and it already does so by limiting the access of certain cars into cities. However, the state should be able to reach all the people - no matter their income. Hence, it would be great if the state could subsidize lunch programs - the school lunch should be healthy and locally produced or should in general be introduced like that to all schools where children have classes in the afternoon.
In general, it is in the state's interest to make its citizens environmentally friendly. If there is less pollution, people are less likely to get sick (asthma and lung cancer just to name two diseases). This in turn will lead to less expenses for health insurance and on the long run, it will preserve human resources. Furthermore, it is the state's responsibility to deal with environmental protection on the meta-level. This will include the subsidization of renewable energy production and the shutdown of nuclear power plants.
Main Part
pro:
  • state as a role model
  • state can dictate certain measures
  • advantages
However, it is also everyone's individual responsibility if he or she wants to take part in the environmental protection movement. The state itself cannot force people to behave environmentally friendly - it can only ban certain products or processes. Yet, it is in everyone's own interest to hold the Ecological Footprint at a minimum.
con:
  • individual responsibility
The state should be a role model for its citizens itself and set an example for environmental protection and thus subsidize environmentally friendly products or services.
Conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  2. Comment on statement
Once, Albert Einstein said: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving". The message of this statement is quite clear - it says that if you stop moving with a bike, you will fall.
Introduction message of quote
That quote entails that you need to keep moving in life, otherwise you will lose your focus. Here, focus means balance. I think you should always keep moving in life. If you don't, you will be stuck at some point in time and you will dismount the bike and you might never pick up riding the bike again if you got used to not riding a bike. Also, you don't know where your path will lead you at times, but if you keep going, you will find your way by yourself. Keeping the habit of riding the bike up even when you struggle to do so or when it is hard to not putting your feet on the groung will make you stronger - both mentally and physically. Hence, continuing to ride the bike (or to face specific problems) will brace you for future trouble. In turn, you will reach your goals sooner when you keep moving and you will no get distracted from your very own path of life.
Main Part explanation of quote preparation for other hard situation
In my opinion, Einstein is right to say that you need to keep going no matter what happens in life. There is just no use in overthinking certain situations and in keeping yourself distracted from what is actually more important. Sometimes, you just need to get over things and to keep moving - you will be rewarded in the end.
$\blacktriangleright$  3. Should it be illegal to make journeys of less than 2 miles by car?
Nowadays, a lot of people make very short-distance journeys to go grocery shopping or to take their kids to school. This poses a serious threat to the environment due to the emissions. If such journeys would be made illegal, people would have to walk or use their bike more often which results in less air pollution.
Introduction
explanation
This is also obviously healthier and will help to fight obesity in addition. Not only is less driving healthier, walking or riding the bike also cuts down the costs for fuel and cars will need less repairs because short trips damage the engines. In addition, the tires don't need to be replaced as often. What is more, is the social responsibility that will be mediated to and adopted by others - being a role model for children for instance is important since they are more likely to walk or bike if their parents set an example for them. And avoiding the car has other benefits as well: there will be less accidents due to less traffic and it will be safer for children to walk or bike aroung by themselves.
Main Part
pro:
  • health
  • less costs
  • social responsibility
Even though there are a lot of benefits that come along with banning journeys of less than 2 miles by car, there are also some downsides to that. Such a law ignores the fact that not all citizens are able to walk or bike around as they wish to. Elderly people are often not able to walk 2 miles to go to the grocery store and to carry back all their groceries. And sometimes, institutions/shops/doctors are not in walking distance - especially when you're living on the countryside. Other times, it is even dangerous to walk due to the lack of a sidewalk. Walking directly on the streets cannot be considered safe. Furthermore, a car comes in handy when the weather conditions are rather crazy like snow storms or heavy downfall.
con:
  • people who are not able to walk
  • no sidewalks
  • weather conditions
As always, there should be made exclusions for cases as the ones mentioned above. Otherwise, I agree on the fact that journeys of less than 2 miles by car should be made illegal.
Conclusion
$\blacktriangleright$  4. Describe, interpret, comment on cartoon
The cartoon shows a wide road that is divided into separate lanes, with some lanes on top of each other. Every single type of movement has its own lane (bus, bike, fire engine, people with strollers, pedestrians). The vehicles are predominant however and the pedestrians have to put up with high risks in order to cross the street. The traffic is thus not bothered by cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, the cyclist's lane is very narrow and packed - at some point in time, it will retreat in favor of the cars' lane. A police officer is sitting on some kind of swing. This means he is not really in charge and he is powerless from up above if anything would happen.
Description
The cartoonist satirizes the concept of separating out different types of traffic on the roads. The poster "Safety first" and the poster that says "Skids tyres" is quite ironic here since the pedestrians have to sail overhead and down on the streets, there is high speed motor traffic. The subtitle "We'll all go our own way home" might seem true, but the questions that comes to mind here is to what expenses the cyclists and pedestrians will go their own way home. Yet back then, the separate provision on the roads for each of these vehicle types had seemed an absurd idea on the assumption that the future would not look very different to the past. Cars started to drive all other traffic off the roads, by their sheer number as well as the danger they posed to other road-users. That in turn meant that cycling conditions worsened so that cycling became a thing of the past in Britain.
Interpretation
I think that the cartoon conveys a true picture of how traffic looked like back in the days - uncontrollable and full with cars. People used the new invention of the car in order to get everywhere they needed to, no matter the cost. I guess that this is what always happens when something new enters the market - everything else that belongs in a similar category (in this case vehicles & movement) will have to retreat for a certain time until the peoplpe will get used to the invention and until they can appreciate the other ways to move again.
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