The conversion of Vester Voldgade has reduced traffic and enhanced the boulevard atmosphere, adding rows of trees, new open spaces and wide promenades, and giving pedestrians priority on what was once a very busy stretch
Vester Voldgade runs through the very centre of Copenhagen and was formerly a popular shortcut for motorists driving through the city. But a major restructuring has given cars their marching orders. Four lanes have been turned into two, and a large number of parking spaces have been discarded. The extra space has been converted for the benefit of vulnerable road users. Cyclists have acquired wide bicycle lanes, while pedestrians can stroll along the new street, which has been given the full boulevard treatment with green avenues and outdoor seating.
Attractive promenade with urban life in the city centre
The object of converting Vester Voldgade was to create a pleasant promenade, which would be attractive to residents, visitors and tourists, creating an urban buzz with space for play, meeting points, shops and culture. The boulevard-like area has been paved with large granite tiles in three textural tones of grey, and fitted with benches and staggered rows of trees, creating an inviting café environment.
Full benefit of the sun
The sun played a major role, when planning the new Vester Voldgade. The wide promenade with its outdoor seating has been located on the sunny side of the street, allowing for full use of the often-limited hours of sunshine. The shady side is used for a narrow traffic lane, a cycle path and a normal-sized pavement. All parking is also located on the shady side.
Three new squares
In addition to the restructuring of Vester Voldgade, Copenhagen has also acquired three new squares: Dantes Plads, Vartov Plads and Skolepladsen (in front of Classenske Legatskole). The squares are linked together, both physically and visually, by Vestervoldgade and its rows of trees and paving, which continue through the squares.
The new Vartov Plads is located, appropriately enough, in front of Vartov, and borders Vester Voldgade, opposite City Hall Square. Here a number of parking spaces have been converted into a green promenade with pavement cafes, a grove of cherry trees and plenty of space, in which to take a breather, or even for street markets.
The wedge-shaped presence of Dantes Plads connects Vester Voldgade with H. C. Andersens Boulevard, just opposite the Glyptotek museum. This space used to be packed with parked cars, but no longer. The parking spaces have now been moved closer to H. C. Andersens Boulevard, and the square has acquired a new surface of coal-fired, yellow-orange tiles, which create visual references to the Glyptotek and the National Museum, which are located quite nearby. In several places the paving has been raised in waves, which can be used as seating for events and for skating on.
In front of the Classenske Legatskole, the traffic lane has been forced to tighten its belt, now reduced to a single one-way street covered with cobblestones. This has created room for Skolepladsen, which spreads across Vester Voldgade.
Unifying public space in the Metropolitan Zone
The conversion of Vester Voldgade and the three squares is part of a larger development project for the "Metropolitan Zone." The Metropolitan Zone refers to that portion of central Copenhagen, which stretches from Kalvebod Brygge to Skt. Jørgens Sø, and from the Central Station, across City Hall Square, to Vester Voldgade. The plans for the Metropolitan Zone will improve the cohesion of central Copenhagen and its connection, for example, to the waterfront. The conversion of Vester Voldgade contributes to these plans by providing an improved connection to the inner city, the harbour, the water and the new Bryghusprojekt, which will be completed in 2016.
Plans for the Metropolitan Zone were launched in 2007 and are still in progress.
Vester Voldgade was completed in 2013.
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Last updated Thursday, July 10, 2014