WATCH: Oslo, Norway is going car-free, replacing all of its on-street parking with flower beds and parks and Victoria’s mayor is keeping an eye on the transformation. April Lawrence reports.
Victoria has held “car-free day” events in the past, where several blocks are closed to traffic and the pavement is replaced by grass, but could it become a permanent thing in the city’s downtown core?
Mayor Lisa Helps on Thursday retweeted a video showing how Oslo, Norway’s downtown core is going car-free — the city has now removed all of its on-street parking and replaced it with flower beds and bike lanes.
Helps says she loves the idea.
“What would the city be like, how would it feel if there were parks instead of parked cars? Oslo is going to be transformed and I think we need to watch that very carefully,” she said.
People on the streets were mixed on the idea. Some say they commute and need to be able to drive and park downtown while others worry about negative impacts to downtown businesses.
But others were immediately on board, saying it’s difficult to find parking anyway, and suggesting increasing pedestrian traffic might actually be good for business and tourism.
But could the car-less scenes from downtown Oslo actually become a reality for Victoria? Helps admits it isn’t likely.
“We’ve got a long way to go in terms of thinking about what a downtown without cars might look like so definitely not on our radar at this point,” she said.
“The point of sending that out on Twitter like lots of things I send out on Twitter is to be aspirational, to look at what other world-leading cities are doing and if we never look up from our tiny little island we’re never going to know what’s happening around the world,” she said.