How Oslo is recycling its former car parking spaces to the benefit of cyclists

  • Living
  • Sunday, 26 Dec 2021

The city of Oslo is doing everything possible to make life easier for cyclists. Photo: AFP

In recent years, Oslo has seen an increase in the number of pedestrian streets, public transport now serves every corner of the city, and parking spaces, usually reserved for cars, have over time been transformed into bicycle lanes. When they don't end up that way, they are replaced with green spaces or bicycle parking facilities.

The trend now is to turn former car parking spaces into bike lanes, easily recognisable by their red colour. Bicycles (including cargo bikes) are available via bike-sharing schemes to help those who do not have their own cycles to get around the city centre, which is geared up entirely for them.

However, there are still a few car parking bays, reserved primarily for disabled drivers, emergency vehicles or delivery drivers (even though the latter are generally only allowed to drive in the mornings). Others are dedicated to the charging of electric vehicles. Plus, there are still many parking lots on the outskirts of the centre.

It is also worth noting that the few cars that still circulate in the centre of Oslo are mostly electric. The Norwegian capital is now one of the European cities with the highest rates of electric vehicles on the road, according to a recent report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

All of these changes are being made to help improve air quality and combat climate change. But another benefit is the safety of road users. A pioneer in the pedestrianisation of its downtown zone, Oslo had no pedestrian or cyclist fatalities in 2019, a unique case in the world for a city of its size.

While Oslo began its transformation several decades ago, other major European capitals, such as Paris, Madrid and Berlin, often have to face greater opposition from inhabitants when imposing this type of policy. – AFP Relaxnews

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