Many of my friends who have come to Stockholm from other parts of the world start laughing when I complain about the traffic here. OK, the morning congestions in central parts of town might not be much in comparison to Paris, Barcelona, Mexico City or New Delhi… but cycling through the streets of Stockholm you still get the feeling that there’s just not space enough for you and your bike, while there’s quite a lot of space for the cars. And according to a new survey, Stockholm is the Nordic city that suffers most from traffic jams. Read more » >>
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Often when it comes to the question of how to make people act in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way, the ideas that come up are rather on the “stick” than the “carrot” side. Raise taxes on petrol, make it more expensive to emit CO2, block cars from certain areas and so on.
The traffic situation outside a lot of Swedish schools is a matter of complaints among many parents. There are too many cars, the drivers don’t respect speed limits and the air quality is bad. But according to a survey made among school headmasters, what causes most of these problems is actually the parents themselves! Another study, made by the Swedish Transport Administration, proves the headmasters right: according to it 80 percent of the traffic around an ordinary Swedish school consists of mums and dads leaving and picking up their children.
Readers of the Sweden.se blogs might already be familiar with the city of Lund, through Kate Wiseman’s Expat blog. Now the district of Lund has been proclaimed Sweden’s greenest in a ranking made every year by the environment magazine Miljöaktuellt.
Lund has distinguished itself for example by restoring large areas of wetland and serving a high share of organic food in their schools and other public kitchens. One person works part time with training and helping the kitchen staffs to make sustainable food and keep waste at a low level.
The city’s traffic policy also gave them a star in the ranking, since it is aiming to make it easier for people who want to use public transports, cycle or walk instead of taking the car. When new buildings are constructed, the environmental and climate consequences for example heating and transports are always calculated.
Lund has had varying political majorities ruling the city district since the mid 1980:s, but it seems that irrespective of the majority, environmental issues has always been pretty high up on the agenda. That makes it much easier for the civil servants working with these issues, says Karin Loodberg, who is head of the strategic environment department in Lund, to Miljöaktuellt.
Artists Samuel Jarrick and Shiva Anoushirvani measuring out the “Civilization line 2050″ outside the government chancellery in Stockholm.
Last week I wrote about how decisions of how to use revenues from congestion charges have been debated here in Sweden. Should the money go to investments that will reduce car traffic or to new road projects?
Yesterday one of the projects which has been most criticized in Stockholm – a traffic bypass that will cost around 27 billion kronor ($3.75 billion) to construct – got the government’s approval.
The road will touch some very beatiful and delicate nature areas including world heritage Drottningholm, and the decision has caused an intense discussion, dividing the population into those who think that new roads is the only way to solve today’s traffic congestions and those who claim that investing in new roads will only sustain more car traffic.
Yesterday after a press conference at the government chancellery Rosenbad, journalists were met by protesters outside the building. Two of them, Shiva Anoushirvani and Samuel Jarrick, were making an art performance called ”Civilization line 2050?”, where they symbolically measured out a future sea level.
”According to the Nasa scientist James Hansen sea level rises will be much bigger than what the UN panel on climate change, IPCCC has predicted. But there is also a more philosophical message in this, which has to do with how long you can call yourself a cilivized society if your way of living is making it impossible for people in other parts of the world to prosper”, Samuel Jarrick told me.
Radio Sweden did a feature in English about the ”Förbifart Stockholm”.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and other institutions have been criticizing the traffic bypass for increasing CO2 emissions in the Stockholm region by 80 percent by 2030. Sweden’s environment minister Andreas Carlgren argues that this road will be built for a future generation of vehicles, that won’t emit as much as those we have today.