Toronto drivers were less than enthused, to put it mildly, when the special HOV lanes for the Pan Am Games were implemented. So it seems highly unlikely that residents of Canada's largest city would ever buy into what Sweden's capital is about to do.
Many of the cities participating are opting for the 'Car-Free Day' in addition to other activities and Stockholm is the largest. The city has 2.2 million people living in the metropolitan area, which is spread across 14 islands. All roads in the old part of the city plus many busy shopping streets and most of the city's bridges will be closed to cars. It will be the equivalent of not allowing cars in downtown Toronto or preventing cars from crossing Vancouver's bridges.
It is designed to promote alternate means of transportation and helps citizens envision what the city would look like with fewer cars.
"As the city expands, we need new thinking in order to increase accessibility and reach our climate goals," said Daniel Hellden, head of Stockholm's traffic division, to The Local. "We have a new governance in Stockholm and we're pushing the prioritization of walking, cycling and public transport hard."
Stockholm has been criticized recently for not doing enough to encourage cycling but, in 2010, the city received the first European Green Capital award. The buses and subways in Stockholm run late into the night and almost entirely on renewable fuels.
"By closing the streets to cars for one day we can give an idea of how our beautiful city looks with less car traffic," said Hellden. "We hope that the citizens of Stockholm will be inspired to choose alternative modes of transport instead of a car."
Do you think an idea like this would ever work in Canada's biggest cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Calgary?
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