The London Model is Dead. Time to Look at Paris.

David Haskell, executive director of the Forum for Urban Design, and organizer of last week’s New York Bike-Share Project demonstration in Soho, says it’s time for New York City to ditch the London model and take a closer look at the traffic-reduction techniques Paris has implemented without congestion pricing. An op/ed in today’s New York Times focuses on one aspect of the Paris approach, bike-sharing:

If it turns out that New Yorkers are not yet prepared to embrace
congestion pricing, and if Albany remains its intransigent self, Mr.
Bloomberg should get over his fascination with London — and look
instead at what’s happening in Paris.

Last week, Bertrand
Delanoë, Paris’s maverick and popular mayor, introduced the world’s
largest and most ambitious bike-share program: 10,600 bikes (scaling up
to 20,600 by the end of the year) available at 750 “docking stations”
situated every 1,000 feet. With a swipe of a credit card and a modest
fee, Parisians (and tourists) can now pick up or drop off a bike in any
neighborhood in the city. Riders no longer need to worry about storing
their bikes in tiny apartments. The program’s high-tech stations make
theft virtually impossible. And with about twice as many bike stations
as Métro stops, a free bike is pretty much always within reach.

York’s subways and buses are already at capacity, and as we prepare to
add one million new residents by 2030, our existing mass transit will
require improvements that will take years (if not generations) to put
in place. Mr. Bloomberg has fewer than 1,000 days left as mayor. His
best chance at securing an environmentalist legacy is to embrace


Après Congestion Pricing, It’s Time to Look at the Paris Model

Amsterdam Ave. and 76th St. with street space reallocated to walkers, bikes and buses. When Transportation Alternatives, Project for Public Spaces and the Open Planning Project started the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign nearly three years ago, the plan was to build a movement that would work block-by-block and neighborhood-by-neighborhood to reclaim the city’s […]

Paris Wins the ITDP Sustainable Transport Award

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has chosen Paris for its 2008 Sustainable Transportation Award. In a letter from the ITDP Board of Directors to Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, the Institute praises the French capitol’s recent transportation policies, most notably the Vélib project: Under your leadership, Paris has implemented a range of innovative mobility […]

How Paris is Beating Traffic Without Congestion Pricing

Biking by the Seine during car-free hours on the Georges Pompidou Expressway. The mayor of a global metropolis, elected to his first term in 2001, set out to reduce driving and promote greener modes of transportation in his city. Congestion pricing turned out to be unfeasible, because influential political forces in the suburbs believed, rightly […]

French Revolution

Two lanes in the middle of this Parisian avenue have been set aside for the exclusive use of buses, bikes and taxis. Private automobiles have been squeezed into the margins. Serge Schemman has a great little essay on Parisian transportation and public space policy on the editorial page of today’s New York Times. I was […]

A French Revolution: This One On Two Wheels, No Guillotine

On Sunday in Paris, more than 10,000 bicycles became available at 750 self-service docking stations. The bike program, called Vélib (for "vélo," bicycle, and "liberté," freedom) is supposed to double in size by the end of the year. Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of Paris’s trendy third district, said "For a long time cars were associated with […]

The Quick and Easy First Step to a “Greater, Greener New York”

  On Earth Day Mayor Mike Bloomberg placed transportation and environmental issues at the top of New York City’s political agenda. He took a major step towards changing the conventional wisdom that traffic congestion is a sign of the city’s vibrancy and economic health. And he joined the list of forward-thinking global mayors like London’s […]