From Iceland — Mixed Opinions On Car-Free Streets, Most In Favour

Mixed Opinions On Car-Free Streets, Most In Favour

Published October 8, 2020

Photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

Residents of Vesturbær are the happiest with the city centre’s pedestrian streets, whilst residents of Grafarvogur are the most negative, Vísir revealed this morning.

In general, satisfaction with pedestrian streets increases year on year, with people who frequently use the streets being happier than less frequent visitors. Residents of Vesturbær live closer to the pedestrian streets than residents of Grafarvogur, for example. These findings were revealed by a new survey conducted by Maskína for the City of Reykjavík in September.

67.2% of Reykjavík residents feel positively about the pedestrian area, compared with 16.1% who feel negatively. This is an increase from 64.5% in 2019. Meanwhile, 23.6% feel the pedestrian area is too small, compared with 24.3% who feel it is too large; the remaining 52.1% consider the area suitable sized. This compares to 2019, when 19.3% felt the area was too small and 28.3% felt it was too big. This suggests that public opinion is shifting towards a greater appreciation for larger car-free zones.

Districts, and their distance from the car-free streets, form one of the greatest factors in explaining the difference of opinion. Residents in the city center and the neighborhoods closest to it are most positive towards pedestrian streets, but the most positive are from Vesturbær, where 89% of residents appreciate the pedestrian streets. In areas such Breiðholt, Árbær, Grafarholt and Úlfarsárdalur, satisfaction decreases, but the most negative are the residents of Grafarvogur. There, a whole 26% – over 1 in 4 – have a negative attitude towards pedestrian streets.

This survey was conducted online from the 8th to the 17th of September this year. There were 884 respondents of 18 years and older, from all areas of the City of Reykjavík.

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