That’s right, cars will no longer be welcomed in downtown Oslo. The city has planned to ban all cars from the city center by 2019. The city also has plans to build over 35 miles of bike lanes by 2019 and will be investing huge amounts in public transport. The permanent ban will be affecting a total of 350,000 or more car owners in the Norwegian capital.
The ban is the largest of its kind, as per Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives. This is the same organization that supported New York City’s Citi Bikes and is a big supporter for car-free-cities cause. Paul said, “The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful.” The car ban in Oslo will also help in reducing pollution while making the city safer for those who are on foot.
Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo said, “We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone.” According to White, the ban will help cities focus more on public parks, sidewalks and cafes.
According to an estimate, about 150 millions of Americans live in areas that do not have air quality as per federal air quality standards. Cars are responsible for the majority of this carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide based pollution. That being one aspect, the other is of time waste that private transport causes. Commuters in Los Angeles spend about 90 hours per year in traffic!
White further added, “Having cars inside a dense city center is the equivalent of putting a large dinner table in a small studio apartment. In the space it takes to park a car, you can park 15 bicycles.” He believes that large car-free zones are going to be imminent, “Because Oslo is moving forward on such an aggressive timetable, the world will be watching and seeing how it goes. What a human and wonderful thing: to be able to walk down the street and feel like you’re a first-class citizen.”