Signs went up again this week on major highways leading into and around downtown Oslo, posting “environmental speed limits” of just 60 kilometers per hour (36mph). Some city officials also want to lower the standard speed limit on all city streets to just 30kph (18mph), for both safety and environmental reasons.
The goal on major roads is to reduce dust stirred up by vehicles driving at the normal speed limits of 70- or 80kph. The goal on city streets is to make them safer for all the cyclists and pedestrians who are politically favoured over vehicles.
“We don’t have anyone to lose,” Lan Marie Nguyen Berg of the Greens Party told newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend. She’s in charge of transport and environmental issues for the City of Oslo and has quickly pushed through major restrictions on vehicles in the city since first winning political power in 2017.
Now Berg wants to reduce inner-city speed limits from the current 50kph (30mph) “to make it safer for children to walk to school and for folks in general.” Simply lowering the speed limit so drastically also can encourage more people to walk instead of drive, she claims. Other city politicians remain skeptical to the proposal.