Ljubljana was one of 1,995 cities that took part in European Mobility Week, which came to an official close at midnight last night. Here, a large chunk of Slovenska Cesta, one of the principal boulevards in the center of town, was closed to traffic for the past seven days with only buses, delivery, emergency and official vehicles granted access. And bikes. It was fun to ride down the center of a street which is usually crammed with cars. The reduction in noise and cleaner air were palpable.
These photos were taken yesterday where Slovenska Cesta meets Cankarjeva and Copova. Some people seemed a bit confused by the car-less streets. Others, particularly the younger set, adapted quite easily.
The aim of the mobility campaign is to encourage local authorities to introduce and promote sustainable transport measures, i.e. alternatives to cars. Following that theme, this closure wasn’t just symbolic. By this time next year the same stretch between Šubičeva Street and Gosposvetska Road will be closed permanently, adding another layer of a (largely) traffic-free area in the center of the Slovenian capital. This fits nicely into my simple sustainability formula: fewer cars = progress.
I quite likely won’t be in town for the official closing ceremony next year, so here’s a quick video tour of that stretch of road for the Ljubljana-curious among you. It was a very quiet Saturday afternoon, with the streets almost ominously deserted. The music? A lovely ditty, Ganimedes de vuelta otra vez de nuevo, by the Argentine band Lanark, whose Free Music Archive page is here. And yes, the second half is slightly sped up.
And who seems to be best at promoting mobility? Of those 1,995 cities taking part, a whopping 606 are in Spain and 548 in Austria.