Oslo has rid itself of most of its on-street parking spaces– 650 of them, to be precise– in a bid to make its city centre light on private vehicle traffic.
Most of the parking lots have now been turned into bicycle lanes (or little parks and benches), a mode of transport the city has strongly encouraged in a number of ways, including grants for its residents to buy bicycles and an improved, increasingly popular bike-sharing scheme.
Improving and increasing mass-transit infrastructure and lowering fares are another way the city wants to change the way its inhabitants move.
Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen cites improving air quality as a major reason for the measures, which are also expected to help the city halve its carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 on 1990 levels.
It’s a softened version of initial plans: in 2015, Oslo had announced plans to make its centre car-free by 2019, but protests– notably from businesses worried that people would simply drive elsewhere to shop– tempered its ambition somewhat.
But, far from turning Oslo into a consumer ghost town, making the city centre better for pedestrians and cyclists has actually increased foot traffic by 10 per cent since the measures began.
Article from the National Resources Defense Council: Welcome to Oslo! NO PARKING
Recent media coverage: What happened when Oslo decided to make its downtown basically car-free?
Banner photo by VisitOSLO/Didrick Stenersen. Used with permission.