Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paris accepts consequences of more cycling

If Velib’ has changed the face of Paris by providing it the largest bike sharing system in the world with 1,800 stations and more than 20,000 bikes, there’s still plenty of work to be done in the French capital. After nine years of slow but steady improvements originating from an environmentally minded city hall, Paris is about to hit the accelerator pedal. The new plan, to be presented in early June to the city council, where it is virtually guaranteed passage, will increase the number of bike lanes within this 40.7 square mile city from 273 miles today (most built since 2001) to 435 miles in 2014.  Connections to the suburbs will be reinforced through the reconstruction of ten city “gates.” And starting this July, 65 neighborhoods, making up about half the city’s land area, will be converted to 30 kilometer zones, with two-way bike travel allowed also on streets reserved for one-way car traffic. And the city is developing a social strategy to encourage cycling even more. A “House of The Bicycle” will welcome inhabitants who have questions specifically about getting around by bike. By 2020, most of the city’s major streets will have dedicated bike lanes and the network will begin to extend out into the near suburbs. Read more here in French and in English here.