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TRAFFIC

Stockholm traffic ‘worst in Scandinavia’: report

Stockholm drivers spend longer in traffic jams than their counterparts in other Scandinavian cities, a new study published on Wednesday shows.

Stockholm traffic 'worst in Scandinavia': report

Navigation manufacturer TomTom’s statistics covering 16 Nordic cities shows that almost one third of Stockholm’s streets are completely clogged up during rush hour, according to the Swedish Svenska Dagbladet daily.

Oslo is the second worst with 28 percent of its streets afflicted by queues. The figures for Helsinki and Copenhagen are 19 percent and 14 percent respectively.

For Gothenburg the figure is 11 percent and for Malmö six.

Daniel Firth, a traffic planner at Stockholm City council, warned that chaos will result if fast-expanding Stockholm is not able to free up space on the streets.

“We have carried out a number of analyses over what would happen if we don’t do anything. Then it would be real chaos,” he told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily.

The city is developing a “framkomlighetsstrategi” (literally: accessibility strategy) to address the problem, to be led by Firth.

The strategy will involve greater priority placed on public transport, cycling and pedestrians and in particular target the parked cars which habitually line the city’s streets.

The charge for residents parking will be hiked from 700 ($100) to 800 kronor/month after the new year as part of the strategy and to push car owners to pay for garage space.

City councillor Ulla Hamilton explained that in the future the city hopes that private cars will be used only when absolutely necessary.

“Useful and necessary car traffic has to be able to get through. Therefore, more Stockholmers need to use card less and walk, cycle or use public transport instead. There is no other way out if Stockholm is to be a functioning city,” Hamilton told DN.

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LIGHTNING

IN PICTURES: Thunderstorms hit trains and roads in southern Sweden

Severe thunderstorms and heavy winds on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning have delayed trains and disrupted road traffic across southern Sweden, according to the Swedish Transport Administration.

IN PICTURES: Thunderstorms hit trains and roads in southern Sweden
A lightning bolt spreads out over the sea at the Scaniabadet swimming area in Malmö on Tuesday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
“There was a huge amount of lightening over night and this morning, and that knocked out the power systems,” Katarina Wolfram, a press spokesperson for the Agency told the DN newspaper. “On several stretches, barriers are down at level crossings even though there is no train coming.” 
 
Lightning strikes near the Turning Torso in Malmö's Western Harbour district. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
The routes between Hässleholm and Kalmar, Karlskrona and Kalmar, and Värnamo and Alvesta have all been affected.
 
Wolfram said it had been difficult to carry out repairs in the morning as there was still a risk of lightning strikes. 
 
“Lightning and working on electrical faults are not the best combination, so we are not sending out personnel to areas where there are still thunderstorms,” she said. 
 
The administration expects normal traffic to resume after midday. 
 
According to Sweden's state weather forecaster, parts of northern Skåne received as much as 24mm of rainfall on Tuesday night, while a photographer for the TT newswire took spectacular photos of forked lightning in the skies of Malmö.
 
The storm front is now moving north towards Östergötland in central Sweden. 
 
Lightning in the skies above Malmö on Tuesday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
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