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Copenhagen artery to become cycle-only

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  • Christopher Miller
    Via the Copenhagenize blog, an earlier article referred to in a recent blog this week, and something more to add to the recent posting on pedestrianisation in
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2008
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      Via the Copenhagenize blog, an earlier article referred to in a recent
      blog this week, and something more to add to the recent posting on
      pedestrianisation in Copenhagen:


      10 JANUARY 2008
      The Drastic Measures of Visionaries

      Politics is all too predictable, all too often.
      Which is why a sudden and unexpected political decision is so welcome
      The Mayor in charge of traffic and environment, Klaus Bondam, has a
      city hall majority behind in his proposal to close off a major artery
      into Copenhagen to through traffic.

      Nørrebrogade is the name of the street and it has traditionally been
      one of the main routes leading to the ancient centre of the Danish
      capital. It is not particularly wide, given its history, and the
      street has long been congested with traffic.

      The proposal to close off the street to automobiles is radical and yet
      it is popular. With a political majority behind the plan it could be
      implemented already next year.

      The primary reasons for taking these drastic measures are simple.
      Decreasing pollution, increasing bike traffic and improving the
      lifeblood of the neighbourhood.

      As the head of the Danish Cyclist's Union says, "Cyclists are forced
      to squeeze together on the bike lanes. Especially older people don't
      feel comfortable riding, and the same goes for parents sending their
      kids out onto the bike lanes. In rush hour people ride at many
      different tempi and that can stress the slower cyclists".

      Each day 75,000 people use the street. Of them only 15,000 are
      motorists, whereas 35,000 are cyclists, making this route one of the
      busiest in the city for bikes. This being Copenhagen there are bike
      lanes in both directions, but bicycle congestion makes it tricky
      riding this route. There is little room for making the bike lanes as
      wide as on other streets, so removing the motorised traffic is the
      only way to create safer bike lanes.

      There are shouts of protest to be heard, most involving claims that
      the shops on the street will suffer from lost business. The same
      shouts were heard back in the 1960's and 1970's when Copenhagen began
      creating its vast network of pedestrian streets, at the expense of the
      car. Businesses didn't die. They thrived from the increase of
      pedestrians and cyclists. As we pointed out in an earlier post,
      cyclists are better shoppers than motorists, too.

      One important angle is that upwards of 75% of the people who live in
      the neighbourhood don't own a car, but they most certainly own a bike
      or two. Why should they live with cars on their streets when they
      don't choose to own one?

      Innovation is not a foreign concept for Nørrebrogade. It was the
      inaugural street for the new Green Wave programme, where the traffic
      lights are coordinated for bike traffic for 2.5 km. If you ride 20 km/
      h you'll hit green lights the whole way. We posted about this earlier.

      It's exciting, to be honest. Because it's radical, visionary and
      promising. The street has long been half-dead, with only the side
      streets thriving. Now one of the main streets in the city will have a
      chance to bloom. Increasing bike traffic and improving quality of life
      for those who live there.

      With Copenhagen having set the goal of being the world's environmental
      capitalby 2015, this is an excellent start.

      Read more about how many cyclists use the infrastructure in Copenhagen
      on this post: Daily Bike Traffic Volume in Copenhagen.

      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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