Oslo, the capital city of Norway, has announced plans to permanently cut almost 350,000 motorists out of the center of the city by 2019, while increasing public transport and restructuring to better accompany cyclists and pedestrians.
In a release from Reuters, the newly elected Oslo City Council announced plans for a car-free city center:
“We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone.”
While many European cities have meddled with the issues of car congestion, like Paris banning cars for one day out of the year, or other cities like London adding congestion taxes to motorists entering the city, no city has yet to completely ban motorists outright. At least until now.
The new plan calls for a massive investment in growing the city’s public transportation and accommodating for the necessary infrastructure. The council will study other examples of European cities experimenting with bans and other limits, and run trials over the next few years to determine the best action.
The plan will also see almost 37 miles of devoted bicycle lanes, as well as the development of a new system for handicap shuttles and supply trucks to access the city.
It’s important to note that the entire city of Oslo, which is home to almost 600,000 citizens, is not banning vehicles – just the city center. This has concerned some shop owners that people will be be less likely to come into the city if they live farther out in town, but the council has reassured them that the growth in infrastructure should be a fitting remedy.
This sounds less like an interest in reducing pollution – which it should to some degree – and more like an attempt to make Oslo a more comfortable environment for cyclists and pedestrians.
This isn’t the only attempt by a group in Norway to make a more comfortable living environment, as others are working on mapping and planning around sound pollution – which is more dangerous than you might think.
Considering how many close-calls with cars I experience on my ten minute walk to class every day, I’m turning green with envy.
PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES