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Oslo Moves Toward a Greener City Center

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Oslo continues to make progress toward achieving its goal of having a car-free city center by 2019. It’s most recent efforts include rezoning the city center, increasing the price of congestion tolls, transforming streets into pedestrian paths and getting rid of 700 parking spaces.

Hanna Marcussen, Oslo’s vice mayor for urban development, articulates the city’s vision for going green. “[The goal is] to give the city back to the people, so children can play safely, so elderly people can have more benches to sit on.” She also claims that most private vehicles will be passé by 2020.

The City is already installing more bike paths and stands, as well as sidewalk cafes, to help promote a more pedestrian way of life. By 2030, it’s estimated that the city’s emissions will be 95 percent lower.

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A mixed response from residents

Over half of Oslo residents have expressed support of a car-free city center. But others have voiced their skepticism and displeasure about the current shift. For one thing, public transportation is pricy; a single ticket costs approximately six euros ($7). This quickly adds up for individuals who rely on it as their primary form of transit. Plus, like with many public transportation systems, delays are common; long wait times are particularly inconvenient and uncomfortable during the city’s subzero winter temperature trends.

Additionally, some businesses that sell larger items that customers can’t carry home, have suffered as a result of the city’s anti-car legislation. These shops are losing business to venues located outside the city center.

Staying positive

But Marcussen and other Oslo leaders spearheading the change are keeping a positive perspective as the city transitions into a more eco-friendly location. “With or without cars, a city center will always change shape over time,” said Marcussen. We anticipate more news in the days ahead as Oslo continues to gradually adopt a car-free lifestyle.

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News Sources: Phys.orgTRT World