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Along the narrow streets on the banks of the Ljubljanica River, the only sounds you’re likely to hear are the patter of shoes on cobblestones, the voices of people out walking and the clanking of glasses at sidewalk cafes.
It’s much changed from ten years ago, when these streets were clogged with traffic. There was little room for pedestrians then. Those who dared to walk had to dodge cars and buses and breathe fumes from their tailpipes.
Now, not just these riverside streets but all of Ljubljana’s compact core is essentially car-free. Only pedestrians, bicycles, and buses are allowed; an electric taxi service called Kavilir offers the elderly, disabled or mothers with children free rides. If you live in the center or want to drive there, you must park your vehicle at an underground garage just outside the car-free area and walk from there. Fears that this would kill local businesses never came to pass. If anything, business and tourism have increased in the historic center.
Ljubljana’s successful fight against traffic is one reason the European Commission named the city European Green Capital for 2016. […]