Copenhagen Cyclists Take Over Main City Thoroughfare

Copenhagen Street Cyclists photo

photo Photocapy @ flickr.

More cyclists. That's the unscientific conclusion of some quick on-the-spot reporting by Denmark's iByen newspaper after the city of Copenhagen decided on a three-month experiment starting October 1 to shut out car traffic on a main city thoroughfare called Nørrebrogade.

Green wave growing
Copenhagen's municipal government wanted to give cyclists more space for morning and evening commutes and lower the number of cars on the road even further - though in the last year biking commuters have gotten nearly even in percentage (36 percent get to work by bike) with car-driving commuters. That would have to be due at least partly to the government's ongoing efforts to make cycling safer and easier - by, for example, timing lights to give cyclists the ability to keep a steadier pace, called the 'green wave'. But how do car owners feel?Car drivers a minority
Well, in the minority, probably. The government's current reckoning is that 33,000 cyclists use the Nørrebrogade road daily, 65,000 travel the same road by bus and just 17,000 cars traverse the street. With the three-month ban, the cars must find another way to get across the city, and planners are hoping for an increase in bike and bus traffic big enough to warrant permanently closing Nørrebrogade to cars. Shop owners are worried that the sudden drop in car traffic will cause their business to plummet accordingly.

But the 'green wave' concept of helping cycling commuters keep a steady pace through the city has been so popular and acclaimed on main thoroughfare Nørrebrogade that it is beginning to spread to other streets in the city, and has also been copied in Amsterdam. Amsterdam and Copenhagen compete with each other for the perception as the world's best cycling city. Copenhagen's goal is that 50 percent of cyclists commute to work by 2015. Via ::iByen (Danish)

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