• Sweden edition
 

Stockholm traffic bypass gets green light

Published: 03 Sep 2009 14:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Sep 2009 14:07 GMT+02:00

The decision has been criticised by the Green Party (Miljöpartiet), the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) and the environmental movement, which say that the plan will cause a large increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

The construction project is planned to commence in 2010, and is expected to take approximately eight years to complete. The traffic link will span 20 kilometres of roadway, 17 kilometres of which will be by tunnel. The motorway will connect the Stockholm region’s southern and northern areas – from Skärholmen, south of Stockholm, to Häggvik in the north – and will pass to the west of the city, relieving the heavy traffic around Essingeleden.

Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren describes Bypass Stockholm as an environmentally friendly motorway, which is needed to solve Stockholm’s traffic problem, including along the E4 motorway heading out of the city.

“This is the climate and environment alternative for Stockholm, and it is linked to our strong commitment to trams and buses,” Carlgren said.

The planned traffic bypass project has been heavily criticised over the years. For one, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) has been critical due to its assessment that the bypass will lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions in the Stockholm region by 80 percent by 2030.

The Green Party agrees and adds that Bypass Stockholm will not provide a lasting solution.

“The government’s decision is very unfortunate. Bypass Stockholm will increase Stockholm’s effect on the climate and increase vehicle numbers. At the same time, it will take resources from important commitments to communal traffic,” said the Green Party’s spokesperson, Maria Wetterstrand.

The government has indicated that certain environmental hurdles were satisfied before giving the final go-ahead for the motorway project: the Lambarfjärden is to be saved from exploitation, the Grimsta forest is to be preserved, the exploitation of Lov island is to be minimal, and the world heritage Drottningholm and the Natura 2000 area Edeby ekhage are to be preserved.

TT/Stuart Roberts (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:13 September 3, 2009 by ksharpe
If you want to remove traffic congestion just charge more for the roads.... set the price to achieve the desired utilization rate.
17:27 September 3, 2009 by Captcha
Kiss off, Green Party. Man made Global warming is a hoax.
18:06 September 3, 2009 by BCR
"Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) has been critical due to its assessment that the bypass will lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions in the Stockholm region by 80 percent by 2030."

I would like to meet the moron that made that "calculation." What a crock of sh#t!!
18:42 September 3, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
"The planned traffic bypass project has been heavily criticised over the years. For one, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) has been critical due to its assessment that the bypass will lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions in the Stockholm region by 80 percent by 2030."

Statements like this are really bizarre to me. How does getting traffic EFFICIENTLY AROUND the city INCREASE pollution? If anything, it would REDUCE pollution.

Do not build the bypass and ALL of that traffic would have to take the current routes! Only the current routes have a lot more congestion and therefore more stop and go traffic! Inefficient driving INCREASES air pollution! Keeping the current system would keep the current high levels of pollution! YES???

Building a new more efficient bypass would reduce the air pollution! YES???

So my immediate thought on the bypass increasing air pollution was that there are going to be SO MANY PEOPLE driving to Stockholm from ALL OVER EUROPE - JUST TO DRIVE ON THIS NEW BYPASS!?!?

Somebody help me out here, or did this news article really miss some major talking points?
23:35 September 3, 2009 by justanotherexpat
Looking forward to the day that I can drive AROUND Stockholm, instead of THROUGH it. Surely it's better for the environment for me to drive my Biopwer car at 90km/h around a major city than to crawl through it at 50 along with thousands of others in less environmentally-friendly vehicles............

This has to be the first time though that I have seen people object to a bypass around a major city!! In the UK it's either usually a "Thank f*ck for that!" or "Ooooh, that's a good idea.......just not here please!" (we call the latter NIMBY's).

Here's a novel idea to satisfy the greens - let's ban cars altogether in Sweden. Yeah. That'll solve it. Sheesh,....
00:10 September 4, 2009 by crunchy2k
The Gov should handout tin foil hats to the Green Party (Miljöpartiet) and the Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) as a green gesture. The two party's impeccable logic that cars snarled in city traffic don't emit as much emissions as moving cars on a bypass is truly amazing.
00:29 September 4, 2009 by gofojo
OK guys. Lets read the research done in the UK. More roads has not equated to less congestion or less polution. The easier you make a rivers path, the more water that can flow if their is water to flow.

We have an addiction to cars. What the green parties are trying to do is promote more and better public transport. If we have this, there will be less people commuting to work and more peope reading a newspaper or making other good use of their time on public transport on their way to work. Right now, its never been easier or cheaper to own a car. Providing better paths for cars is like adding more fuel to the flames.

Please check out the substantial research that has been done in other countires in relation to bypass roads etc. The M25 in the uk is often considered the UKs largest parking lot.

Speaking of which, look at the example in copenhagen. They removed public parking spaces from the city to increase public transport useage. The city moves more free. Everyone is happier.

Lets not take the red herring so easily and instead concentrate on eating herrings that arent effected by polluted water run-offs from overcongested roads.
07:37 September 4, 2009 by hilt_m
lmao 20km will cause a large increase in carbon dioxide emissions, you must be joking. 200km with 6 to 8 lanes now we are talking increase.
08:21 September 4, 2009 by usgepo
K sharpe either works for IBM, the company who implemented the system in a revenue sharing model with the state or is ill informed, raising the congestion fees or tools will not solve the problem, it will only create more tax revenue for the state & IBM, the higher fees will get passed to the consumer for deliveries and such and everyone pays the price.

Improving on the spaghetti road system we have is the best alternative.
08:33 September 4, 2009 by Xavid
by 2030 everyone will be driving electric cars. And everyone will be happy the new road exists. You can expect everyone to take the bus to work.

I had to stand on the buss this morning for the 3rd day in a row. Im taking my car tommorrow. It consumes very little fuel. And is something like 95% recycable.
10:51 September 4, 2009 by gofojo
Xavid. Good point. Spend 3.75 bn on improved busses and tunnelbanas and with the decrease in traffic on the roads from encouraging more to use public transport instead of driving one person per car - then your existing journey will be quicker.

But lets face it folks - the real issue here is that no one wants to give up their car. No one wants to walk sometimes. And not many people like to interact with other people on public transport.

We are selfish, lazy and inconsiderate to the needs of others around us. This is human nature.

But if we want to improve ourselves for now and the future of our children, we should make decisions that benefit the maximum amount of our society. Throwing money on a road project that will not improve congestion is one thing.

Making a smart plan to decrease those who travel to work via car, decrease congestion and increase public transport serves us all.

And lets not even talk about American and the obesity associated by the "right to own a car" and drive everywhere. We dont need to go there, do we? I think we are smarter than that. Lets act it.
12:23 September 4, 2009 by Gurkhan
let's put this to a referanda and see how many people in sthlm really want to have it?
13:03 September 4, 2009 by Rick Methven
The problem with traffic in Stockholm is not local commuters but Through traffic. As it is now, anybody heading north of Stockholm comming from the south goes through the center joining the local traffic. No other capital city has such a system. It was quaint and worked 30 years ago but no longer. A bypass will reduce carbon emmissions in the City and on the bypass. Better for the environment
13:51 September 4, 2009 by Zill
This project reminds me a lot of the InterCounty Connector (ICC) toll road project in the U.S. state of Maryland, north of the capital city, Washington, D.C.

Like Förbifart Stockholm, the ICC is extremely controversial. Like Förbifart Stockholm, the ICC has been discussed for years.

Like Förbifart Stockholm, the ICC has a parallel congested motorway. In Stockholm it's Essingeleden. In Maryland it's part of the Capital Beltway.

Like the ICC, Förbifart Stockholm SHOULD be built.
14:23 September 4, 2009 by nzroller
ksharpe has got it -- make people understand that there is a cost for each drive, not a free-for-all over the course of the year.

To reduce car-usage I propose a revenue-neutral -

1) remove the yearly road fees

2) every trip is charged

So, get rid of the all-you-can-eat buffet, where everyone drives at much as they want in a year.

I would be pro-building this road if:

1) Essigneleden and surrounding roads are made pedestrian/bike only,

2) it is self-financed, that is - charge per trip.

3) would be nice if it was ALL in a tunnel too
14:33 September 4, 2009 by hilt_m
nzroller - why all in a tunnel?

"3) would be nice if it was ALL in a tunnel too"

"1) Essigneleden and surrounding roads are made pedestrian/bike only,"

might suck come winter time with the snow
18:05 September 4, 2009 by gofojo
Rick M. Good comment about the through traffic but consider this.

If there was less traffic on the road during peak hours because of to and from work drivers using public transport, then essingeleden would not be such a problem. Now, if they spent the money on improving mass public transport and the infrastructure of the train network as well, would we need so many heavy lorries on the road? Its all about efficiency. Trains carry more than a lorry. Boats too. Buses and trains carry more people than a car. To win this battle we have to be smart. 1 person per car isnt.

So, that person who dared mentioned american example Im just going to ignore because clearly the US has no idea about environmental issues and traffic management. Thats an undisputed fact amongst those that are, unfortunately, not normally American. Your time on the top of the roost has changed, you cant dictate the philosophies of your empire any more. It failed. Sorry. But its trye through every picture of a an impoverished banker, home owner and jobless person lining up at the soup kitchen.

So, surely people, it makes sense to improve our infrastructure in terms of public transport and railway networks that can deliver freight efficiently and cheaply. We seem to be getting close to a situation now where we are just thinking of our own needs, our own desire to drive cause its comfortable. I admit, it is!!! But its not helping our planet, our waterways, our air, our peace of mind (lets talk sounds) or our budgets!

Thanks everyone for a lively discussion. Its been a pleasure discussing this through, but can anyone give me a better option? ie. we reduce traffic in Stockholm by increasing public transport - which also helps with our freight by new rail lines - and everybody wins.

Who wins with one person and a car? Are we really that selfish? I hope not.
20:06 September 4, 2009 by Zill
gofojo asserted:

> So, that person who dared mentioned american example Im just going

> to ignore because clearly the US has no idea about environmental

> issues and traffic management. Thats an undisputed fact amongst

> those that are, unfortunately, not normally American. Your time on the

> top of the roost has changed, you cant dictate the philosophies of

> your empire any more. It failed. Sorry. But its trye through every picture

> of a an impoverished banker, home owner and jobless person lining

> up at the soup kitchen.

Umm, I dared mention it and I dare to rebut you, too.

Maryland's ICC may be the greenest freeway ever built in the United States, and maybe the WORLD. Over 15% of the cost of the project is set aside for environmental mitigation and stewardship.

Did you look at the project's Web site? Check it out:

http://www.iccproject.com/

> So, surely people, it makes sense to improve our infrastructure in terms

> of public transport and railway networks that can deliver freight efficiently

> and cheaply. We seem to be getting close to a situation now where we

> are just thinking of our own needs, our own desire to drive cause its

> comfortable. I admit, it is!!! But its not helping our planet, our waterways,

> our air, our peace of mind (lets talk sounds) or our budgets!

Stockholm (as a municipality (stad) and as a region (län) has one of the best public transit systems IN THE WORLD, and I respect the work that has been done to encourage transit usage there and elsewhere. But the travel market that Förbifart Stockholm will serve is NOT one that would or could be well-served by mass transit.
20:58 September 4, 2009 by gofojo
Thanks for the link Zill. Will check it out. I love seeing examples of things being done well and I wish it was more the norm - in all countries.

On the last point, I think your missing my point. Decreasing traffic thats resulting from to and from Stockholm workers will decrease congestion massively in the short, medium and long term. Freeing up the road for those that are just bypassing. There has been research (i believe, in Sweden) done on this. And there is research that forbifart is a stop-gap measure based on other examples of similar problems. The proof of the current congestion problems lies in the actual times they occur. ie. when the day starts and ends for workers. If there were better north south public transport links for those that live north and work south etc - then this would also dissipitate the current congestion. It should not take much to work out who travels where and why for the purpose of ascertaining if new transport links. Once this is established, you know the potential demand, you plan the infrastructure accordingly.

I dont know many people who would not like to sit on train for their journey to work - rather than say, sit in congested essingeleden/potential forbifart. The numbers are there in relation to congestion of new roads, how long it takes etc. Good solid research in the UK - which has an enourmous amount of roads and congestion.

There are a few reports here, using solid data, that makes an interesting read on the problems of motorway bypass and general road building in an ever increasing population.

http://www.cpre.org.uk/library/results/roads

I recomment the one titled "Beyond Transport Infrastructure, Lessons for the future from recent road projects"
17:49 September 6, 2009 by gofojo
Zill. In relation to that project you mention in Maryland - it hasnt been finished. Its still under construction which is causing more delays. Whats worse, budget cuts mean that the project is on hold. Im sure the 370 million US reserved for the environmental program will be cut first. So much for a great green program! We need to forget about roads. Spend our money on efficient projects that benefit us all and lets get out and walk a little before we are all just fat on a stick. Keep going that way, we are sure to become extinct.
17:33 September 11, 2009 by Zill
> Zill. In relation to that project you mention in Maryland - it hasnt been

> finished.

It is under construction now. Will be completed between 2010 and

late 2011 or early 2012.

> Its still under construction which is causing more delays.

Because it is a new motorway on a an alignment that has been in

reservation for years, delays to traffic on the existing road network

are minimal.

> Whats worse, budget cuts mean that the project is on hold.

Not correct.

While the State of Maryland has had to make cuts in many of its budgets,

the funding package for the InterCounty Connector is secure - in large

part because most of construction is funded by revenue bonds that will

be re-paid by users of the road when it opens.

> Im sure the 370 million US reserved for the environmental program

> will be cut first.

Wrong. Because the environmental mitigation package is

part of the road (and part of the so-called Record of Decision which

allows the road to be built), that means that the road cannot be

built without it.

> So much for a great green program! We need to forget about roads.

We need to forget about anti-road/anti-highway/anti-mobility rhetoric.

> Spend our money on efficient projects that benefit us all and lets

> get out and walk a little before we are all just fat on a stick.

Walking is good. So are motorways.

But not everyone can (or wishes) to live like they do in the Gamla Stan

area of Stockholm, which was built long before we had motor vehicles

(or even trams).

> Keep going that way, we are sure to become extinct.

Evolution happens. That's not a reason not to improve our

transportation network.
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