The city of Paris has been trying out a transport transition for more sustainability and climate protection for several years – above all, the switch to bicycles should be promoted. And that’s apparently working, because the expansion of the cycle path network is well received by the capital’s residents: more and more Parisians are switching to bicycles for their daily journeys. In the first three months of the year, bicycle use increased by 37.3 percent compared to the same period last year, as the city of Paris has now announced. Metro use increased by 12.6 percent, while car traffic in the city center fell by 5.5 percent. Traffic on the city highway, the Périphérique, fell by 1.7 percent. Parking garages registered 2 percent fewer customers. Capital residents now make 7 percent of their journeys by bicycle; before the corona pandemic, this was less than 5 percent.
More and better bike paths
The approximately 1000 kilometer long network of cycle paths will be expanded and the quality of the cycle paths will be improved, the city said. 52 kilometers of temporary cycle paths that were set up with concrete barriers during the Corona period are currently being expanded into regular cycle paths. Existing cycle connections will be provided with cycle lanes that are safely separated from car traffic with curbs. In addition, for the Olympic Games in Paris next summer, the sports facilities will be connected to a 60-kilometer network of cycle paths, half of which will be newly created.
The mayor of Paris has been pushing forward the transport transition in the capital for years. Streets on the banks of the Seine were closed to cars and made accessible to pedestrians, and car traffic was also restricted on other streets and space for pedestrians was expanded. New green spaces were created and in the urban area 30 km/h speed limit introduced almost everywhere. A traffic-calmed zone will also be created in the center of the city by the beginning of next year. And even on the city highway, the number of lanes should be reduced. Air pollution in Paris has measurably decreased in recent years.
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Criticism from dealers and the surrounding area
Although the Cycling traffic has increased, the transport transition also meets with resistance. Craftsmen and suppliers, for example, complain that they are often no longer able to park near their customers. Hidalgo is also accused of an anti-car policy by residents of the surrounding area, which is no longer connected to the metro.