Oslo's City Center Will Be Car-Free by 2019

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Norway makes going green look easy. Not only is the small Scandinavian nation known for its successful recycling program and renewable energy sector, city government officials also recently announced that they plan to prohibit cars from central Oslo within the next four years to cut down on pollution.

Private vehicles will no longer be allowed in the capital's city center, although exceptions will be made for people with disabilities or businesses sending goods to stores. According to The Guardian, authorities hope that the ban will reduce Oslo’s automobile traffic by 20 percent by 2019. However, local entrepreneurs are worried that their businesses will take a toll, as 11 of the city’s 57 shopping centers lay within the restricted area.

How will people get around? Bikes, buses, and trams, for starters. Oslo’s city council said that it will build about 37 miles worth of bicycle lanes by 2019, and that they’ll also heavily invest in public transport.

Although cities like Paris, London, and Madrid have tested temporary car bans or implemented congestion charges to lessen traffic, Oslo is the first European capital to permanently get rid of motor vehicles. For a country that is also striving to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it makes sense that Norway’s doing away with cars—especially since burning one gallon of gas creates about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.

[h/t Reuters]