Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Outside the Box in Europe

Milan P1070238 res Just returned from a carfree trip around Northern Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, staying in apartments and travelling around on public transport - trams, trains, buses, ferries and catamarans. Although it wasn’t planned as such (with the obvious exception of Venice), one thing really stood out: from small islands in the Adriatic to big Italian cities like Milan, the rest of Europe is serious about re-balancing public space for the benefit of people who aren’t in cars. The rest of Europe seems to really get it - cars don’t get to go wherever their drivers want to, at the expense of all the others users of public space.
Some of the most striking things:
- Large areas of many cities are now pedestrian zones. Even the car-mad Italians have got rid of the cars in the centre of Milan, around the Duomo
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- Cyclists and pedestrians seem able to co-exist peacefully in the carfree zones
- Increasing numbers of cities have bike rent schemes modelled on the Paris Velib: we saw them in Bologna, Milano and Ljubljana Milan P1070327
- More cities are  getting car club/car rental schemes
- Some cities provide free transport services to help people get around in the areas where cars aren’t allowed Ljub P1080053 res
Bologna P1070592 res And then, we come  back to Brighton and Hove and find……a move to reduce the amount of time when George Street, Hove’s main shopping street, is given over to pedestrians. Welcome back to the Stone Age…

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