In 2009 Odense City Council passed an ambitious traffic and mobility plan that is meant to markedly change the infrastructure of the city and further sustainable traffic. Since it was opened in 1970, the large city through road Thomas B. Thriges Gade has been heavily debated and many suggestions for projects have been suggested over the years with a view to change the whole of the city centre.
The plan consists of an overall solution including the closure of Thomas B. Thriges Gade, the building of a bridge over Odense Kanal, the finishing of Ring 2 and 28 other projects designed to make the traffic move in the right direction. Also, the financing for a 14 kilometre long light railway has just fallen into place so that the vision of transforming Odense from a large city to a metropolis looks like it is going to come true.
The physical projects are described in the action plan Traffic in Odense (Trafik i Odense). As a supplement to this, the action plan Mobile in Odense (Mobil i Odense) has now been written. The schedule was tight and the plan was worked out in five weeks based on 15 meetings with other administrations and cooperation partners, amongst other things. A survey was carried out in the municipality’s citizens’ panel and both top managers and the whole of the city council have been involved in the process.
The plan is built up around 34 projects in all, divided across six main themes:
- Smart mobility
- Less congestion
- Seniors and people with special needs
- The future
All projects have to be carried out in 2014-15 on an overall budget of 11 million DKR. On top of this there is the additional need for a contribution of approx. 4 full years of work each year.
All 34 projects have been described in detail so that the chances of success are as high as possible. 27 projects concern cycling. Apart from one page in the report, every project has been described in detail in a technical brochure (bilag) with an exact manuscript for implementation and relevant references nationally and internationally. We want to keep our promises!
We have already entered into discussions with most of the cooperation partners and interested parties in order to reduce risks.
As an example of one of the projects, work should be done to make more children and parents cycle to kindergarten. For almost 40 years, Odense has worked to secure the school roads so that more people cycle and walk to school – now it is the turn of the youngest children. A number of smaller crossings will be improved and there will be campaigns for the children. Children up to the age of six are allowed to cycle on the pedestrian areas and we would very much like to make use of this potential.
The campus area will attract more business and create more living quarters, an extended university and a whole new super hospital. Despite the light railway, a park and a high-class path network, the road network will struggle to handle daily traffic with more than 60,000 people coming in and out of the area. The answer will be an ambitious mobility plan for the whole area that is meant to reduce the need for a very costly car parking solution.
Car-free zones will be introduced by several schools – not as closures as such, but in the shape of temporary restrictions, which for instance will only allow cars driving away from the schools before school starts in the morning.
So the projects are broad-ranging and will thereby be able to support the very marked physical rebuilding of Odense taking place during these years.