Mayor: Cars "Reykjavík's Biggest Problem"

20.8.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr said that he believes the biggest problem the capital currently faces is car traffic.

Speaking on the radio show Sprengisandi yesterday morning, Vísir reports, the subject of the partial and temporary closing of Laugarvegur and Skólavörðustígur was brought up. When asked about the objections raised by some downtown merchants to the move, Gnarr responded that "People in cars are not shopping," and that actually much larger projects - such as the opening of Kringlan in 1987 - have posed greater threats to business downtown. Rather, the partial closing of the two downtown streets has received a mostly positive response, he said.

Continuing on the subject, Gnarr added that cars have been the largest source of accidents in the city, and that this needs to change. For example, he said, mass transit needs greater support and more bike paths need to be established.

At the same time, Gnarr went on to say, "I think Reykjavík's biggest problem, especially downtown, is car traffic. Reykjavík is a car-friendly town. And that's fine, I like cars, but the city is unusually car-friendly. And that needs to be balanced out."

Gnarr pointed out that even after a recent increase in parking metre fees, Iceland still has some of the lowest parking rates in the world, and that other cities take a much stricter approach to car traffic in their downtown areas.

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