Comment 113988

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 25, 2015 at 14:54:38

Excellent article!

As Ryan points out, the impressive thing is how quickly Paris has gone from a cycle-unfriendly city where cycling was a marginal choice, to a cycle-friendly city where riding a bike is a natural choice for all sorts of people on all sorts of trips.

As someone who lived in Paris in 1994-1998, 2000 and 2011-2012 I can back up Ryan's summary of recent cycling history in the city. For example, during the long 1995 transit strike all the bike shops quickly sold out as people scrambled for alternative ways to get to work, but once the strike was over the bikes disappeared again.

Another point is that Paris is innovating in many directions at the same time and making regular changes and tweaks:

  • 30 km/h standard

  • more car-free zones and car-free days in more neighbourhoods

  • the auto lib' electric car sharing system (in 2011)

  • a massive expansion of LRT in the suburbs

  • moving to single zone transit pricing for all of greater Paris (10 million people)

  • more and more bus lanes

  • P'tit vel lib' bike rentals for children in parks

  • completely rebuilding the Les Halles transit interchange and underground shopping mall

  • experiments in citizen engagement like participatory budgetting

  • getting rid of some of the voie sur berge highways along the Seine

  • 20% geared to income housing (responding to a national law)


And all this in a huge, old very busy and dense city with a powerful entrenched bureaucracy.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-09-25 14:56:21

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