15 October 2009

Copenhagenize's Christmas Wish List 2009

Last year my son Felix began preparing his Wish List for christmas. He started thinking big from the word go. The list featured Xbox, Wii, Playstation and various games for these three consoles. He continued with a flatscreen tv, a mobile telephone, the complete Lego City series and so on.

I explained to him that it was probably a good idea to add some more modest wishes that were accessible to the people who would be buying him presents. Out of curiosity, I added up the cost of all the wishes on the original list. 17,000 Danish kroner. [€2660]. A tad over the top for a six year old. He ended up pleased with what he got, of course, but I admire him for thinking big.

So here's my Christmas wish list for 2009. There's really only one item on it.

A 30 km/h zone for cars in the entire City of Copenhagen and 20 km/h in school zones.

Long John Christmas Family
I will bet that if this landed under our tree this yuletime, there would be an increase of 10% of the amount of cyclists within one year, as well as a serious increase in the number of train, bus and metro passengers.

Two Triangles
Any takers in Copenhagen for that bet? Any visionaries present at City Hall? There is enough research from cities elsewhere in Europe that have already implemented this simple idea that it would be a smashingly brilliant thing to do. Less pollution, less traffic, fewer accidents and fewer serious accidents.

At time of writing there are 70 days and 7.5 hours until I open my presents on December 24th in the evening.

Get busy.


Kenneth said...

I like the idea, but you might as well ask if there's someone willing to commit political suicide.

A more realistic approach would be to wish for making more car free main streets, like Nørrebrogade. And perhaps a car free inner city.

I think a 30 km/h limit would make my cycle trip to work faster than my colleagues who do the same trip by car - 7 km through the central part of Copenhagen. It's only a couple of minutes faster by car now, thanks to the "green wave for bicycles" traffic lights.

kfg said...

My first thought was "I want a Bullit," but I'll take your idea first. I can wait for another bike.

I'm already on record as preferring the car free inner city, but am puzzled at the idea that that would be LESS political suicide than lowering the speed limits.

". . ."green wave for bicycles" traffic lights."

Stop making me jealous. I've simply been wishing that our detectors would actually DETECT bikes. Some of the absolutely most critical ones around here refuse to do that and won't give a green light at all. Ever.

jasontinkey said...

20mph in any north american city would be like a dream.

but then again, with traffic in chicago you can rarely go much faster than that anyhow.

Anonymous said...

I support the 30kph limit idea, we have a few towns with 20mph limits in mostly residential areas and it is brilliant. Here in the UK we could make our mph signs mean kph over night, how about that for cost effective!

Mark Garrett

kfg said...

". . .you can rarely go much faster than that anyhow."

But that doesn't stop 'em from trying; and therein lies a problem.

First computer modeling and now real experience in those cities that have been bold enough to try it has shown that 20mph/30kph actually serves to DECREASE average transit times by improving the general flow of traffic. It's the sweet spot.

But there's always that urge to gain advantage by pushing down on the gas pedal just a tick harder. Some real social consciousness, a realization that "traffic" is (by definition) a GROUP activity, is needed.

LGV said...

can i ask for the same present ?

Adrienne Johnson said...

I would be happy if I could get San Francisco to make all streets no faster than 25MPH. We have many 30 and 35 MPH that run through neighborhoods with schools. First O will work on my street, and then maybe I'll move out from there.

l' homme au velo said...

In Dublin we had a couple of Streets in the City Centre made 30Kph and now in the New Year they are making a few more 30kph. They are very slow however in bringing it in,it is always a fight with the Business and Car Commuting Lobby. Eventually they will make more 30kph Areas. Where there are Schools in other Areas they have 30kph Limits. We have also a couple of Traffic Free Streets in the Shopping Areas. The Business Community said they would lose Business by having Traffic Free and no one would Visit their Shops but they were wrong if anything it has Brought more Shoppers.

txell said...

Barcelona will have 215 kilometres of "Zones 30" by the end of the year...not bad at all...
More info:http://w3.bcn.es/V57/Serveis/Noticies/V57NoticiesLlistatNoticiesCtl/0,2138,215502824_238698740_3_856551665,00.html?accio=detall&home=

Sara said...

if I ask santa for the same, do you think our chances will increase?
the national government refuses to let copenhagen apply a congestion charge zone, but there must be other ways for the city council to reduce private car traffic in the city, and this is probably one of the more efficient options.
i'm with you if you wanna go out on the streets and collect signatures of other citizens who wish for the same, then we can consider whether we send them to greenland or to the city hall...

tensimon said...

I've got this idea that drivers can't be trusted to keep to those speed limits (the limit around my neighbourhood (in Okinawa, Japan) is 30kph but nobody sticks to it.

Better enforcement would help, but mechanically limiting speeds to 30km (with feeble acceleration) would ensure EVERYBODY kept to the limit - no matter how late they were or what kind of mood they were in (or how drunk they were).

(possibly this could be electronically disengaged once you cross the city limits into the countryside)

A hard sell politically, I concede, but as the 'bull in the chinashop' post shows, if people really knew the dangers of driving they might start to concede that the speed limiters are necessary.

my tuppence worth, great blog, thanks

sexify said...

Not sure if this is new for you, but things may be s-l-o-w-l-y edging that way in Blighty too.



Richard Mann said...

Oh you mean like Oxford :)


I don't think it's led to a noticeable increase in cycling, but you do feel a bit more confident/relaxed accompanying your kids.