10 major cities beginning to go car-free
The Bob Pritchard Snippet
Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions.
Oslo announced a ban on all cars from its city by 2019, six years before Norway’s country-wide ban would go into effect. Now, the country wants to take the initiative a step further. Norway is proposing a bill banning the sale of gas-powered cars by 2025, investing heavily in public transport and replacing 35 miles of roads with bike lanes.
Madrid is banning cars from its city center by 2020, with urban planners redesigning 24 of the city’s busiest streets for walking rather than driving. The plan is to reduce daily car usage from 30% to around 20%. It will be expensive to park the most polluting cars.
In Chengdu, China, the new city layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes. While Chengdu won’t completely ban cars, only half the roads will allow vehicles.
Hamburg plans to make walking and biking its dominant mode of transport. Hamburg is reducing the number of cars by only allowing pedestrians and bikers to enter certain areas. The project calls for “green network,” of connected spaces that people can access without cars. The network is planned to cover 40% of Hamburg and will include parks, playgrounds and sports fields.
Over half of Copenhagen’s population bikes to work every day, thanks to the city’s effort to introduce pedestrian-only zones starting in the 1960s. The Danish capital now boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and has one of the lowest percentages of car ownership in Europe.
The latest goal is to build a superhighway for bikes that will stretch to surrounding suburbs. The 28 planned routes will be completed by the end of 2018. The city has also pledged to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025.
When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. Now, the city wants to discourage cars from driving in the city center at all.
Since last year, all drivers with cars made before 1997 are not permitted to drive in the city center on weekdays. Paris plans to double its bike lanes and limit select streets to electric cars. The city also curbs emissions through car-free Sundays rule last year.
London will ban diesel cars by 2020. Currently, the city discourages the use of diesel engines in some areas of the city by charging a fee of $12.50 per day for diesel cars.
Brussels, features the largest car-free area in Europe. Most streets that surround Brussels’ city square, stock exchange, and Rue Neuve (a major shopping street) have always been pedestrian-only. The roads make up the second largest car-free zone in Europe, behind Copenhagen. For one day in September, all cars are banned from the entire city center.
It is proposed to turn a popular four-lane boulevard into a pedestrian-only area. Brussels has announced that diesel cars will be banned starting in 2018.
Mexico City plans to ban about two million cars from the city center by prohibiting a portion of cars from the city center two days every work week and two Saturdays per month. The policy helps to mitigate the city’s high smog levels.
While New York City isn’t planning a car ban anytime soon, it is increasing the number of pedestrian areas, along with bike share, subway, and bus options.
Beginning this week, strips of popular areas like Times Square, Herald Square, and Madison Square Park are permanently pedestrian-only. On three Saturdays, hundreds of thousands of people will take advantage of Summer Streets, an annual event that prohibits cars and opens major roads for pedestrians.
Cities are coming to the realization that they need to swing the pendulum