Pedestrian Streets Planned in Reykjavík

Vala Hafstað

Morgunblaðið

Planning is underway to transform certain streets in downtown Reykjavík into permanent pedestrian streets, Morgunblaðið reports. The planning follows the approval by the Reykjavík City Council last fall of a proposal to that effect .

The project will be prepared in three phases. The first phase, presently being planned, is a stretch on Laugavegur, from Ingólfsstræti to Klapparstígur, and another stretch on Skólavörðustígur, between Bergstaðastræti and Laugavegur. Those two areas will be defined as Sumargötur, or “summer streets,” May 1 this year till October 1. Subsequently, either this fall or in January of next year, work will begin on preparing those areas for becoming year-round pedestrian streets.

Sigurborg Ósk Halldórsdóttir, who heads the city’s Department of  Planning and Transportation, states that the preparations involve changes in zoning, approval thereof, redesigning streets, and so on.

“The street surface will be redesigned and the street elevated. That is done to facilitate access to stores and restaurants, which is far from good right now,” she explains. “Likewise, automatic bollards will be installed to control access. Then we must pay attention to vegetation, benches, light posts and garbage bins.”

“We’ll cooperate with store and restaurant owners, because some of them are interested in expanding their service out into the street. There will be more areas with seats, and it will be more enjoyable for us, the residents.”

The second phase of planning involves the part of Laugavegur that lies between Klapparstígur and Frakkastígur; Bankastræti, down to Lækjargata; and finally Bergstaðastræti, from Skólavörðustígur to Laugavegur.

The third phase has to do with the stretch on Laugavegur from Frakkastígur to Barónsstígur. Finally, the Hlemmur area is being redesigned and could possibly be connected to the pedestrian zone.

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