A quick-and-dirty synopsis of last month’s Austrian headlines.

Wikicommons

Construction Takes Over the Gürtel

Throughout the summer large-scale construction work will turn the Inner Vienna Beltway (Innerer Gürtel) bordering the 7th and 8th districts and 15th and 16th into a tedious route. Renewals of water piping and roads along the much-used motorway will cost the city €3.9 million and is scheduled to finish in early September. Traffic jams are likely, and from July onwards the construction work will intensify with only two lanes available at night and on weekends.

Need to know

From June to September, avoid the Inner Vienna Beltway if possible.

What others said

In answer to last year’s complaints about slow construction progress, the Municipal Department 28 emphasized: “We cannot work continuously because the concrete needs three days to dry.”


Austria’s Not Competitive, Even with Itself

In a recent international competitiveness ranking, Austria continued a downward trend, dropping from 24th to 25th place. The International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland investigated 63 states, analyzing 260 indicators including economic figures and surveys among more than 6,000 managers. Hong Kong topped the list this year, followed by Switzerland, Singapore and the United States. While performing well in infrastructure, health, environment and education this year, the overall result was tainted by a last-place ranking in international investments. Austria’s most positive asset, according to the survey, is a qualified workforce. The county’s highest ranking in the last 20 years was 11th in 2007.

Need to know

Austria falls in the IMD competitiveness ranking, continuing the trend of previous years.

What others said

“Following the rather sluggish economic growth during the last years, demand and output growth in Austria is expected to accelerate in 2017.”
– Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)


Greens Agree to Proposed Education Reform

After protracted negotiations, SPÖ (Social Democratic Party of Austria) and ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) have agreed on an education reform. The plan stipulates introducing a limited number of Gesamtschulen (comprehensive schools), and will depend on the approval of local parents and teachers. The Green Party initally criticized this additional hurdle, but have since been mollified by amendments. Even if ratification happens in June as planned, nationwide implementation will take years.

©APA

Need to know

Following lengthy discussions, education reform is close to conclusion.

What others said

“The school reform will collapse like a soufflé because it is nothing but hot air.”

– Lisa Nimmervoll, education expert and journalist, Der Standard


New Pedestrian Zone on Lange Gasse

Vienna is getting a new so-called Begegnungszone (“meeting zone”) in the 8th district, Josefstadt. A slight majority, 56.2 percent of affected residents opted for the change on Lange Gasse. The construction is planned to begin in 2018, creating a new design for the stretch between Josefstädter Straße and Hugo-Bettauer-Platz, bringing street and sidewalk to the same level. Cars will still be able to drive through, but at a reduced speed limit of 20km/h. The neighborhood will lose 25 parking spaces but borough mayor Veronika Mickel is counting on new underground parking on Rathausstraße to fill the need.

© Mobilitaetsagentur_nonconform

Need to know

Construction on a 150 m stretch of Lange Gasse will start in 2018.

What others said

“A lot of people from the neighborhood are against the project because of losing parking spaces.”
Walid H., tobacconist to Wiener Zeitung

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