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Improving Traffic, Copenhagen Style

Photo by Finn Frandsen

From Denmark’s Politiken newspaper comes one of those dispatches that remind you of what a remarkable place Copenhagen is.

As the piece notes:

“Nørrebrogade, one of the capital city’s main thoroughfares, is to be closed to car traffic for the next three months in a trial closure which may be made permanent…. The trial is designed to improve bus and bicycle traffic on a road that normally carries 33,000 cyclists, 65,000 bus passengers and 17,000 private cars per day.” Those are my italics, and can you imagine that phrase being uttered anywhere in the U.S.?

Anyone got any updates on how it’s proceeding?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 at 4:15 pm and is filed under Cars, Cities, Congestion, Cyclists, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Improving Traffic, Copenhagen Style”

  1. Peter Says:

    actually, i think you might be surprised.

    the BRT thing has taken on a life of its own here in the U.S. the new urbanists – or whatever you want to call them – have taken over the spot. everyone who jumped on the ciclovia bandwagon is next going to BRT. and ciclovia just did Chicago, and is about to do Miami in a big way in a few weeks. Baltimore wants a say. i wouldn’t doubt it Detroit or Houston start talking ciclovias next. ok – detroit’s broke, but Houston maybe.

    the only thing that could _stop_ these types of headlines appearing in the u.s. within the next two years is people like me, who being natural skeptics, are not keen yet to jump on the BRT bandwagon when we know so little about the current system, and even less about this strange thing called BRT.

    :-D

    more here:

    http://www.sfbike.org/?market

  2. Mikael Says:

    I blog about the progress regularly at http://www.copenhagenize.com – Nørrebrogade label

    It was confusing on the first few days. A number of cars continued through the ban zones. But after a week it is quite amazing, in my opinion. I rode the whole route yesterday morning during rush hour and there were hardly any cars.

    The original idea was to just close off the whole stretch but through political compromise it became a ‘test period’ of three months. It is looking quite permanent if you ask me. But the original idea was to create bus only entrances to the street and physically prohibit the cars from driving down the street. As it is now, some cars still make it down the street and some even knowingly tailgate slow moving busses in order to use the zones. There is no enforcement. But by and large the whole thing is great.

    It’s a treat to behold. It’s worth noting that in the neighbourhood through which the street slices only about 35-35% of the citizens own cars, so the traffic is not local. The cars seem to have found alternative routes or the motorists are now riding their bicycles.

  3. Mikael Says:

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/search/label/n%C3%B8rrebrogade

  4. David Hembrow Says:

    We have a bicycle road here which achieves something similar. It’s no longer a through road for cars, so the only ones you might meet are for access by people who live on the road. It no longer links up with the ring road as it used to, and part way along there are restrictions that cars can’t get through, so it’s no longer a convenient route for cars. There are no traffic lights on it, and bikes dominate. There’s a video here showing it in the middle of the day when not busy:

    http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=VDSmfhpV3no

    And this shows a glimpse at one end during rush hour:

    http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=WTzfEWzDpVw

    There are no traffic lights on the cycle route. They’re only on the driving route, which is a bit of a detour instead of being so direct as this.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

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