The Oslo Report: Park it like it’s hot?

oslo cover

Until I can dwell into more complex subjects such as Norwegian society I can only share with the world (OK, mostly family and friends) the more superficial differences in Norway. There are many. But this post is dedicated to only one. The fine art of parking.

In every city parking has its own culture. In Paris if the parking spot’s length is 1 centimeter less than your car, you will fit it in there. Somehow. Eventually. On the outskirts of Rome if the road has two lanes and a bakery next to it, than the right lane will be turned into and ad-hoc parking place. Relax, no one will die. It’s just for five minutes. In Bucharest, if there’s a place your car can stop, then it’s a parking spot.

In Oslo? You would never do any of the above. But you regularly do something very interesting. I would have expected that they are much more law-abiding, following the law to the letter. They aren’t really like that. Or not as much as I expected anyways.

They really care about society and their peers though. So here’s the surprising thing. There is a two-way street without heavy traffic, with room just enough for two cars to pass next to each-other, with a sidewalk or two on the side. They will just park on one lane and share the other one. When two cars meet each other, they climb on the sidewalk. This way, the pedestrians keep the sidewalk 95% of time, the cars get parked and traffic is just a little slower.

Here’s how an ad-hoc one-way street looks, you can see the car trails on the sidewalk:

oslo street parking

Click on the picture to see it in more detail if you need to.

It’s not ideal, but it’s better than the Eastern European model of parking on the sidewalk.

Of course, for this to work you need people who drive slower and actually think pedestrians are people too, just like them.


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