Athlyn Cathcart-Keays in Oslo
Tuesday 13 June 2017 07.30 BST
One day late last summer, in Frogner, a central neighbourhood of Oslo, Nils Sandberg received a note.
“It simply stated that shortly, parking spaces in these streets would disappear and bicycle lanes would be built,” says Sandberg. He spoke to neighbours, and learned they had all received the same note. “This came as a total surprise and shock.”
More people own cars in Frogner than in most other parts of Oslo – 38% household ownership, compared to roughly 30% in other central neighbourhoods – and the idea of losing all their parking space to bike lanes did not appeal.
“We are not against cycling,” says Sandberg, who now leads a campaign to save the parking spaces. “We do, however, believe that cycling is not the only reason for the chosen routes – it is definitely also meant to force a maximum number of cars out.”
This was, in truth, exactly the plan. When a progressive political alliance took power over Oslo’s city council in October 2015, they had made one of their first priorities a greener and more liveable environment in the city. With an almost 30% increase in population expected by 2040, the Norwegian capital was worried about its carbon footprint.