Friday, February 05, 2010

Safety concerns for new streetcars

STOCKHOLM. As the Swedish capital gets ready to revive streetcars as a regular feature in the city center traffic, there are concerns for the safety of pedestrians and bikers.
“We are not used to streetcars in Stockholm. We have to learn to live with them again”, says Anne Kemmler of the City of Stockholm traffic office to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
In August of 2010 the first part of what is called Spårväg City (Streetcar City) will open for traffic. The first phase of the new streetcar network will connect Norrmalmstorg in central Stockholm with popular recreational area Djurgården and its tourist attractions.
An old museum streetcar has been serving this route, mainly for tourists. The new Spårväg City will mark the return of permanent streetcar-service in central Stockholm. The old streetcar network was dismantled in 1967, when Sweden switched from left-hand to right-hand traffic and the new subway was in place.
The City of Stockholm plans for an extensive information campaign in connection with the opening of the new streetcar-line, to make sure that residents understand the traffic rules and impact the new streetcars will have.
The new network of streetcars will gradually be extended to reach the fringes of central Stockholm and connect new developments with the existing public transit infrastructure.
In 2000 a new streetcar/light rail-line was opened connecting suburbs directly west and south of central Stockholm. There are plans to extend this service as part of the major investments in public transportation now underway in the Swedish capital.

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