“Imagine there’s no autos
It’s easy if you try
Only healthy walking
And cycling ‘neath the sky”
—A riff on John Lennon’s, Imagine
Visitors to Kyoto, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Porto and Paris don’t have to imagine – they already have miles of car-free streetscapes for walking, cycling and healthy living.
In Copenhagen, above, streets beckon, making you feel instantly welcome no matter your age, origin or native tongue. These streets speak ‘human’, saying you belong – even if you just arrived. Working to reduce car presence since the 60s, Denmark’s capitol also boasts 200 miles of bike lanes. And if Denmark leads the pack, other European cities get the message; in Paris and Stockholm central districts are car-less. Pedestrians are fine right in the middle of the road here – imagine! They aren’t relegated to crosswalks; they’re celebrated and since they don’t have to worry about relentless onslaught of autos, can think about other things! It’s so much easier to be a tourist in cities like these (see below) where walking’s made easy and delightful.
Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, voted this spring to remove 11,000 parking spaces from the Dutch capitol by 2025. These will be replaced by sidewalks, trees and more places for people to gather and enjoy life.
And the tendency to go car-free, is moving beyond Europe; a recent Business Insider article, “13 Cities that are Starting to Ban Cars” lists urban areas in Asia and South America embracing the trend.
Imagine this kind of living in the U.S. ? We’d have less stress, loneliness, greater longevity, reduced obesity and better health and well-being overall.
Imagine your town, your street, your way—without cars, just like in Porto, Portugal and Kyoto, Japan, (see below).
As John Lennon said:
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”