If you're planning a vacation that's not a cruise, you're probably checking on car rental availability and prices.
If so, you may want to know about 5 exciting cities that are reducing automobile dependence and in return are providing visitors with less travel hassles and more money in their pockets.
These cities are moving toward alternative forms of transportation for environmental considerations, also because they are choking: There are too many cars in too few square miles and all of them are fouling the local air.
So, if you haven't yet firmed up your 2019 or 2020, travel plans, you may want to consider these world-class, car-free locations:
- Due to its many steep hills, San Francisco is not a particularly pedestrian or bike-friendly town, but city leaders are making changes where it counts. In early 2018, San Francisco began the first phase of its driver reduction program by starting the conversion of 2.2 miles of Market St. into a car-free boulevard.
- Scandinavian cities have well-earned reputations as clean, safe, and interesting. Unfortunately, cities such as Oslo were not built to accommodate the large number of autos they have attracted. This year, all cars will be banned from the city's center and all gas-powered cars will be banned from the entire country in 2025.
- As one of the world's great cities, Paris is moving to maintain its status as a leader in environmental improvements. Three years ago, older cars were banned from the city center. By 2020, only electric automobiles will be allowed.
- Berlin's attempts curtail car congestion and combustion began in 2008 when it identified 34 square miles of the city center to benefit from a ban all gas and diesel vehicles that failed to meet strict emission standards. In 2017, Berlin began construction on 12 bicycle "super highways" that are protected from cars and designed to whisk riders about the city.
- 2020 marks the final year in Madrid's five-year effort to ban all vehicles from its city center. The plan includes the redesign of 24 of its busiest streets to accommodate walking, not driving. In some parts of the city, residents of local neighborhoods are allowed to drive lower emission vehicles while a fine awaits everyone else.