Paris has eliminated vehicle traffic from around its most famous tourist spots, and Madrid has a large city area where cars are not allowed.
The city of Oslo, Norway is pushing forward a plan to ban cars from its city center in a move hailed by environmentalists and city planners universally.
The plan, inspired by the newly elected and liberal-minded city council, calls for the city center to be car-free by 2019.
“We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists,’’ said Oslo council member Lan Marie Nguyen Berg to Reuters. “It will be better for shops and everyone.”
The plan will include the construction of at least 35 miles of bicycle lanes in the area, and an investment in public transportation. The city center will continue to have buses and trams, as well as transportation options for disabled people.
Oslo has an estimated 350,000 vehicles among its 600,000 residents.
Ironically, there is a race of sorts among European cities to become vehicle-free. Madrid plans to have cars eliminated from its city center by 2020, covering almost 500 acres of the city. Paris has banked vehicular traffic from around its major landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Copenhagen has long had so-called pedestrian zones for years, although they intersect with vehicular traffic at spots.
An American organization, Transportation Alternatives, pushes the idea of car-free cities and endorses the Oslo plan as something American cities can emulate.
“The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful,’’ said Transportation Alternatives executive director Paul Steely White to Tech Insider. “Having cars in a dense city center is the equivalent of putting a large dinner table in a small studio apartment.”
White said American cities with similar ideas will watch Oslo to see how its experiment works out.
A piece in New York magazine in March 2015 said Boston is the best bet to be the first major U.S. city to adopt a car-free policy. It is estimated that 40 percent of the current population of the city lives in “extremely walkable” areas where automobiles are not needed to live. Thirty-seven percent of the adult population of Boston does not own a vehicle, placing it behind only New York and Washington, D.C. in terms of U.S. cities.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.