In an effort to make the city center free of cars, over the last few years, Norway’s capital of Oslo has been busy replacing nearly all street-side parking spots with bike lanes and sidewalks. The result? Last year, the city recorded zero pedestrian or cyclist deaths, bringing the capital in line with its “Vision Zero”, an undertaking to eliminate all fatalities on public roads.
As part of its Vision Zero, Oslo has removed more than a thousand on-street parking spots, encouraging people to opt for an affordable and flexible public transport network or use newly added bike lanes and walking trails.
In addition, the city officials also drastically lowered speed limits inside and outside downtown areas and established “heart zones,” where vehicles are not permitted to pick up or drop off children around primary schools.
“The wish to pedestrianize the city isn’t a new policy, but it has accelerated now,” Rune Gjøs, a director at Oslo’s Department of Mobility, says. “The car became the owner of our cities, but we’re resetting the order again.”
On top of it all, Oslo’s successful case of giving the city center back to pedestrians contributes to a growing body of evidence that pedestrianization not only saves lives but also benefits local business — after reducing cars, the number of shoppers in the center increased by 10 percent.