Copenhagen Wasn’t Always Bike Rider’s Paradise

Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly streets are often used as a model for other cities around the world.

What most tourists, and even many Copenhageners, don’t realize is that the city wasn’t always this urban-mobility utopia.

Cars were seen as “vigorous symbols that the Depression of the 1930s and the darkness of World War II had lifted,” according to a history by Lotte Ruby on Denmark’s official website.

As more families could afford to buy cars, the city demolished cycling infrastructure it had built in the first half of the 20th century to make room for roads and parking. By the mid-1960s, thanks to a postwar economic boom, the roads were clogged with cars. But then a few things happened to bring about a road revolution: a growing number of people were killed in traffic accidents, there was vigorous opposition and protests against new road projects that would have cut through some of the city’s most beautiful areas and pollution was becoming a problem. Then, the oil crisis hit Denmark hard in 1973, prompting a new policy focus on energy independence and conservation, including car-free Sundays.

Read more…

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/what-bicycle-friendly-copenhagen-can-teach-us-about-commuting/article34233541/

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