Cities around the world are feeling the effects of traffic congestion. Some are taking regulatory measures to try to reduce their carbon footprint, such as London’s use of congestion fees. Hamburg, Germany is taking this to the extreme. They are trying to implement a plan called the ‘Green Network,’ which would outright ban cars within its city limits by the year 2034. The city, which does not benefit from modern city planning, has streets that are too narrow and curvy to manage modern cars. After the cars are ousted, they then want to cover 40 percent of the city in an intertwining network that connects parks and gardens and allows travel by bicycle and foot.
Hamburg also wants to do this so they can have a positive environmental impact: “While the move to ban cars is ostensibly to improve the quality of life for the city’s 1.8 million residents (larger than Philadelphia, but smaller than Houston), who are crammed into an area roughly the size of Lexington, KY, there’s also an environmental goal. Banning cars and encouraging residents to use more sustainable means of transport will help the city offset and absorb some of its CO2 emissions. Hamburg has been ravaged by severe weather, and it’s status as a major North Sea port means it’s equally susceptible to rising sea levels.”
Legislation like the Green Network would cause outrage in the U.S. However, a move to reduce carbon emissions has popped up lately in a more toned down sense. There is a new trend that sees SUV’s having to pay more for parking in big U.S. cities such as New York and Boston. The difference is, this is not a government regulation, but rather the owners of parking garages that are upping their prices for gas-guzzlers. Some companies are demanding an extra $40 a day to park an SUV in their garage. While this may seem like a petty way to nickel and dime consumers, it does provide a good byproduct in the form of reducing carbon emissions around their cities.