How Ljubljana turned itself into Europe’s ‘green capital’

With a car-free center and ambitious 'zero waste' plans, Slovenia's capital shows that small cities can lead on urban sustainability

The streets were clogged with traffic in the city of Ljubljana and there was little room for pedestrians then. Those who dared to walk had to dodge cars and buses and breathe fumes from their tailpipes.Now, not just these riverside streets but all of Ljubljana’s compact core is essentially car-free. Only pedestrians, bicycles, and buses are allowed; even an electric taxi service offers the elderly, disabled or mothers with children free rides. If you live in the center or want to drive there, you must park your vehicle at an underground garage just outside the car-free area and walk from there.

“The city also has taken steps to promote bicycling. Ljubljana has had bike sharing since 2011 — the same smart card used to check out a bike works to pay for transit fares, parking or library fees. The city also allows people to ride bikes in pedestrian areas if they ride slowly. This is unusual in Europe, where riders normally must dismount and walk their bikes in pedestrian zones. The policy has encouraged more bicycling, although some cafe owners protested out of concern that bicyclists would slalom dangerously among their tables.”

Read the complete article written by Simone d’Antonio for Citiscope.

 Residents and visitors in Ljubljana’s city center must park their vehicles at an underground garage just outside the car-free area and walk from there. (Simone d’Antonio)

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