Car Ownership Declines in Europe as Cities’ Focus on Walking, Bikes & Public Transit
Cost of Personal Car Ownership Tops $10,000 a year
By Stephen Leahy
CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov 1, 2011 (Tierramérica)
Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.
Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility – mobility without private cars.
“EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these three systems clicking together: connectivity is the key,” Gil Peñalosa, former director of parks and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, told those attending the EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress.
The congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities was organised by the South Korean city of Changwon and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local government members from more than 1,220 cities in 70 countries.
“The famous Times Square in New York City is now a permanent pedestrian mall. Who would have believed that could happen just three years ago?” Peñalosa commented to Tierramérica.
“Five years ago who would have thought Paris would have over 22,000 bikes as part of a tremendously successful bike sharing system?” added Peñalosa, who is now the executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO based in Toronto that promotes walking, cycling, parks and urban trails to improve the public life of cities.
“We need to build cities around people and not around cars,” he stressed. Continue reading →