City council has recently approved two changes to city planning in Reykjavík: part of Hafnarstræti will be closed to car traffic, Hverfisgata will get a bicycle path, and the old “shop tower” (“söluturninn”) will be returned to its rightful place on Lækjartorg.
The closing of Hafnarstræti will be a temporary move, and will permit only pedestrian and bicycle traffic. According to Vísir, the request came from business owners on the street itself, who requested the street be closed until 15 September, so that they could hold festivities outdoors for passers-by. The closing will extend from the street’s intersection with Pósthússtræti to its intersection with Tryggvagata.
City council argues that people have benefited from being able to walk around downtown without worry of car traffic, and that they also want to encourage more environmentally friendly means of transportation. To this end, city council also approved removing parking spaces from one side of Hverfisgata – extending from Lækjartorg to Hlemmur – to make way for a soon-to-come bicycle path.
In related news, the old shop tower – which today can be seen near the pond Tjörnin – will be moved back to its original location on Lækjartorg. Built in 1907 to welcome the arrival of the King of Denmark, it has moved around quite a bit since then before arriving at its current location. To see photos of the history of the tower – which includes some pretty cool old photos of Reykjavík – here’s the Reykjavík Photography Museum’s blog entry on the tower.