Oslo to ban the private motor car

It seems there is yet another city that is intent on blaming the poor old automobile for all that is wrong in the world. Oslo’s new, l...


It seems there is yet another city that is intent on blaming the poor old automobile for all that is wrong in the world. Oslo’s new, left-of-centre city government has announced it wants to ban private cars from the city centre as soon as 2019, as part of a plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The Norwegian Labour Party and its allies, the Socialist Left and the Green Party, which won the municipal elections in the Norwegian capital last month, presented a platform that revolved around environmental and climate change issues. And as usual, they have focused on the car as public enemy number one.

The plan for the Scandinavian country’s capital city would see a ban on private vehicles in the city centre which, according to the Verdans Gang newspaper, has a residential population of only 1,000, but is where throngs of some 90,000 people go to work.

There is no detailed plan on how the new city government would implement the ban, but there would obviously need to be an extraordinary increase in the amount of public transport needed to ferry commuters to and fro.

The proposal has caused concern amongst local business owners, who pointed out that 11 of the 57 shopping centres in the city are in the proposed car-free zone, with the obvious concerns on how shoppers would be able to gain access and, more particularly, egress when loaded down with the weekend shopping.

The city council’s hearts seem to be in the right place, as they try to contribute to the reduction in global greenhouse gases within the city limits, with the ban on automobiles as just part of the plan to slash emissions of greenhouse gases by 50% by 2020, compared to 30 years prior. The new city authorities also plan to divest fossil fuels from their pension funds, subsidise electric bicycle purchases, and further support the initiative by constructing bicycle lanes, and subsequently reduce automobile traffic in the entire city by 20% by 2019, and 30% by 2030.

“In 2030, there will still be people driving cars but they must be zero-emissions,” Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, a member of the Green Party, told a media conference.

image: visitoslo.com

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