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Most people visiting cities spend and enjoy their time in pedestrian streets. Pedestrian streets are usually free of car traffic which causes a lot of pollution due to exhaust, particulate matters, and noise. Pedestrianization is a natural step in the development of cities to create a more eco-friendly, safer, and healthier environment. Experience has shown that residents and visitors to cities want pedestrian streets in city centers.
In our neighboring countries, shopping has increased with pedestrianization. Along pedestrian streets, flourishing shops and services thrive in a quiet and ecological environment. There are a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and other services along our pedestrian streets in Reykjavík that improve daily life and and make them better for pedestrian traffic.
Parking spaces for people with reduced mobility are in side streets or in close proximity to pedestrian streets and, as identified by traffic laws, parking spaces for people with reduced mobility are also available on most pedestrian streets these days. It should be noted, however, that when driving on a pedestrian street, full caution should be exercised, taking into account pedestrians who have priority on the street. Do not drive faster than walking speed, and if there is a lot of pedestrian traffic on the street, try to park in side streets.
Emergency services such as the police, ambulance, and fire service have easy access to the pedestrian areas of Reykjavík. Their working access is better in pedestrian areas than other streets as there are fewer obstacles.
The vast majority of Reykjavík residents, or 69.3%, are positive towards pedestrian streets, and satisfaction with pedestrian streets has increased over the years. Every district of Reykjavík has more people in favor of them than against. More than a third, or 30.3%, believe that the pedestrian street area is too small.
Reykjavík City conducts an annual survey of residents' attitudes towards pedestrian streets in the city center.
Since 1960, pedestrian streets have been introduced in many places in the Nordic countries. Pedestrian streets can be found in almost every Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish town regardless of size, location or climate. Rain, cold or wind has not slowed this trend. Studies have shown that the same number of visitors come to these streets in all seasons regardless of the weather.
Residents who have an approved parking space on the back lot of a building that is not accessible by any other means than driving on a pedestrian street, can apply for a pedestrian street card. This is done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only one pedestrian street card is issued for each parking space that meets the above conditions. Before driving on a pedestrian street, the card must be prominently placed in the car.
In special circumstances, residents can also get use of the street space outside of the indicated hours for goods transport, for example when moving, repairing their building, and so on.
It is cheapest to park in Reykjavík City parking garages. Stjörnuport, Vitatorg, Bergstaðir, and Traðarkot are the closest to the pedestrian streets of Laugavegur, Vegamótastígur, Vatnsstígur, and Skólavörðustígur. There are even more garages nearby where you can find parking.
Accessibility for product unloading is better in pedestrian streets where there are fewer obstacles than in regular streets. Transporters may unload goods on most pedestrian streets between 7am and 11am.
When goods are not transported using motorized vehicles, such as by electric bike, electric trolleys, or similar devices, they may still be unloaded outside of unloading hours.
Events must not disturb residents or operators or create a hazard. Most events are, furthermore, subject to a usage permit from the City of Reykjavík.
There are exceptions, and a non-musical event with up to three artists is permitted every day from 10am-8pm. Likewise, a musical event with up to four performers is permitted from 2-8pm on weekdays and from noon to 8pm on weekends. In both cases, artists and performers must move at least 50 meters per hour.
Operators at pedestrian streets can get a permit to have outdoor catering or display their products in front of the business. It is also crucial not to impair access to both pedestrians and emergency driving.
Please note that outdoor catering are only permitted during the opening hours of the business in question and they are never allowed after 11pm.
All the rules that apply to the use of pedestrian streets in Reykjavík can be viewed in the Resolution on Reykjavík City Pedestrian Streets, which City Council approved on September 6, 2022. It covers the main points discussed here in more detail.
Not everyone has to have a private car.
You can check where the pedestrian streets are.
You can view a map of squares and playgrounds.