Today - Sunday 29 September 2019 - Cityringen / The City Ring - the new metro line in Copenhagen opened with a ceremony on the square in front of city hall. For the afternoon and through to midnight transport around the city was free and people were out in large numbers to see and to use the new stations and the extended train system.
Construction work started over eight years ago so citizens are now reclaiming large parts of the streetscape and squares of their city that have been fenced off behind high green hoardings as the seventeen new stations were constructed.
Bus routes too will alter drastically on 13 October with fewer buses actually crossing the city … buses will come in to a station on metro City Ring and then head back out again or will run around the edge of the city centre rather than cutting across. So, inevitably, over the coming months and years, the ways in which people move around and through the city will change.
There will be major interchanges at Kongens Nytorv and Frederiksberg where the existing lines and the new metro circle line intersect and major interchanges to other forms of transport at the new metro stations at existing stations for suburban and country-wide trains at Østerport, Nørreport and the central railway station.
All these new stations have extensive areas for leaving bicycles at street level or underground so it is clear that people will make their journeys by swapping from bike to metro to foot to bus or whatever combination makes for the best or the easiest or quickest route.
The engineering work - constructing over 15 kilometres of tunnels and huge excavations below street level for the new stations much of the work below important historic buildings, below residential area, under the canals or under existing infrastructure of water pipes, sewage pipes and so on - is clearly very very impressive but, and quite deliberately, the new stations follow the form of the existing stations so are relatively low key at street level with simple glass boxes over the lifts to the platforms and simple steps down and, for most stations, glass pyramids that throw light down into the station concourses below.
But that does not mean that the stations will not have a huge impact as most have been constructed along with dramatic improvements to the squares and streets around the station so, over the coming years, the real change will be in the ways that the metro will revitalise and transform some areas of the city - areas such as the newly renovated square and the streets around Enghave Plads or the area around Trianglen - and the metro will mean quicker and easier access to and from the densely-occupied residential areas of Vesterbro and Nørrebro and - with the next phase of work - the new residential areas of the north and south harbour …. planning that has been described by the newspaper Politiken as “binding together the suburbs.”.