With a variety of traffic calming measures and bicycle promotion, Paris is quickly becoming a cycle city – although this takes time, so one needs to exercise some caution concerning where you bike (trust me)! 🙂 Still, with its famous Velib bike-sharing (and car-sharing) systems, great parks, public spaces and expanded bicycle lanes; the bicycle is an obvious choice. In addition to its cycling infrastructure, a “re-conquest” of pedestrian spaces is also underway on the banks of the River Seine. One kilometre of the road will be narrowed, to make way for pedestrian corridors, garden spaces as well as riverside bars and cafes. An additional 2.5 kilometres will be deemed a “car-free zone” – first in a trial phase, and then long-term. While motorists have complained, the city has a lot to gain from this. In the place of a motor-vehicle way, Paris will construct parks, floating botanical gardens, sport courts and floating flower-markets. Just another reason to coin this the city of Romantics…
Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, the city’s mayor since 2001 representing the Socialist Party, has supported or enacted many of these schemes as well as like measures to support public spaces (e.g. the introduction of the ‘Paris Beach’ along the Seine every summer). With this final push to close-off car traffic – welcoming instead bikes, walkers and people-watchers – this measure is set to leave him a strong cycling legacy. (Delanoë will not stand for re-election in 2014.) As Paris’s government perhaps changes, this may threaten some of its recent cycling trends – either from new incoming politicians or city motorists – still many of these slow-transport projects are backed by national funding and policy support, and becoming accepted by the Parisians themselves as an integral part of the city. Here’s hoping they stand the test of time…
Want to read more? Check The Guardian or the New York Times coverage of this exciting project; or the Project Les Berges homepage (in French, English and Spanish).
8 thoughts on “Paris: reclaiming the city for cyclists & pedestrians”
This is great!!!!!!
I know. Paris rocks!
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[…] A re-conquest of Paris is underway. Read about it here: Paris: reclaiming the city for cyclists & pedestrians. […]
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[…] few weeks ago, I wrote about a new public space project in Paris to take back the banks of the River Seine from vehicular traffic. Well last weekend I was in Paris, […]