Oh shut up, man!

That is a quote from the Presidential debate. “Oh shut up, man!” came from Biden and you could hear the exasperated tone. It is exactly what I say to myself when a loud car roars past. Or maybe a motorbike. When I was younger (omg I am starting to sound like my mother) …. let me continue. When I was younger the boys used to take the baffles out of their motorbike exhausts. It made them sound really tough (so they thought). It could turn the sound of a 50cc piddly motorbike into what sounded like a Harley. Now I know that the Harley owners out there will be insulted. A really good Harley purrs – it doesn’t roar. Nevertheless the young lads got the desired reaction – all the girls noticed them.

I am not quite sure how guys get their trucks or cars to roar but I was surprised to see numerous youtube videos on how to do just that. Weird. I don’t get it. Am I the only one who gets annoyed by loud traffic noise? I don’t think so as there is a lot of controversy over the new ring road in Calgary. Imagine if everyone drove electric vehicles. We would be able to hear ourselves think.

What I do know is that there is a really good reason for cities around the world to have pedestrian only areas. I noticed this on a recent trip to Canmore and it was a pleasure to have pedestrians come first rather than cars. So for those who enjoy escaping the roaring traffic here are a few of my favourite traffic free places.

The first one to come to mind is Venice. I love Venice exactly for that reason – no cars. Of course there is always someone who will break the rules.

“British tourists have been criticised by Italian locals after they drove their rental car along the streets of Venice. The pair were spotted as they drove along the city’s famous Grand Canal, even crossing a pedestrian bridge. Angry locals stopped the couple, who blamed Google Maps, after they nearly knocked a pedestrian down, theΒ Mail Online reported.”

The city with the longest pedestrian only street is Copenhagen and the street is 1.1 km long. That is amazing! Copenhagen is very interesting if a little expensive.

And look how amazing this looks – a car free street right in the middle of Milan.

Notice how the street becomes a centre for art displays and little cafes. Via Dante connects the Castle to the Piazza del Duomo.

There are lots of these pedestrian roads in smaller towns too – Bellagio on Lake Como is one such. I loved it there. The cobbled streets are so narrow with lots of steps so you can work off that pasta! Some of the more popular restaurants even have cushions on the steps for those waiting for a table and the waiters will even serve you a glass of wine while you wait. How civilized.

The streets of Bellagio
And there is the line up

Now imagine if this restaurant was not in the beautiful and pedestrian free old Bellagio – but on the pavement of a regular road. Yes – horrible.

But I think hands down the winner for pedestrian traffic free streets is Fez in Morocco. My goodness, you need a guide to find your way through these very narrow alleys. In some parts I could almost touch the walls on either side at the same time.

But I have to correct myself – while there are no cars or lorries or buses there is indeed traffic – of a different kind. The four legged variety and if you try on your road rage stuff – you will come off second best – believe me!


By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Hi Lesley,

    Was in Banff a couple times this summer and the downtown area being closed to vehicles was really nice.
    I have friends who are locals and they seem to like it as well.

    Thanks for being you!πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ˜Ž


    1. Hi Wendy – yes indeed Banff and Canmore are doing a great job with pedestrian-only streets and it really changes the experience. Thank you so much for reading my blog πŸ™‚ all my best, Lesley (stay well)


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