From Iceland — Reykjavik's Main Street May Become Car-Free All Year Round

Reykjavik’s Main Street May Become Car-Free All Year Round

Published September 4, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Marek Ślusarczyk/Wikimedia Commons

A new proposal put forward by the Reykjavík City Council majority would close Laugavegur to car traffic all year round, RÚV reports, as opposed to only during the summer time. The car-free area around Kvosin will also be expanded. UPDATE: Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has just announced that the measure was passed.

The proposal comes from the ruling majority of the Social Democrats, the Reform Party, the Pirate Party and the Left-Greens. If passed, Bankastræti and Laugavegur would be strictly for walking and cycling all year round, and the areas around Ingolfstorg that are already closed to car traffic would be expanded further. In addition, these pedestrian-friendly areas would be re-designed, with an emphasis on safety and quality of life.

Recent polling suggests that the vast majority of those who live in the capital area supports the idea. In 2016, an experiment began to make Laugavegur car-free from May 1 to October 1. A new poll from Maskína shows that 71% of respondents believe the experiment has had a positive effect on downtown life, while only 11% believed it had a negative effect.

Interestingly, respondents who actually live downtown or very close by were the most supportive of a car-free Laugavegur, while those living in the farthest reaches of the capital area were the least supportive.

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