Streetfilms: Sharing Street Space in Paris

Here is another Streetfilm by Elizabeth Press from her trip to Paris last summer. This time she focuses on shared street space in the City of Light, where the understood "street code" dictates that users are responsible for those with lighter vehicles — i.e., cyclists look out for pedestrians, car drivers look out for cyclists, bus drivers look out for cars, etc. This, combined with relatively simple calming devices, makes it possible for bikes, taxis and buses to share lanes safely, and allows for design features that would seem impossible in most cities, like unprotected contra-flow bike lanes.

My takeaway from this vid: It’s amazing to see what is possible when everyone just slows down.

  • Excellent film. It seems Paris has done much in just the two years since I was last there. Moving people, not vehicles…now that is a mantra we can all get behind.

  • rex

    30 km/hr = 18 mph, sigh, that sounds lovely. We will never get there, but it sounds lovely nonetheless.

  • Rhywun

    Yeah, the American need for speed is definitely the root of most of the awful design our cities are inflicted with. Elevated expressways along the waterfront. “Plazas” that devote most of the space to tortured intersections designed for maximum speed. Sidewalks so narrow you have to walk single-file.

  • Boris

    I wonder if there is any philosophical reason against contraflow bike lanes in New York. I understand it’s illegal because bikes are grouped together with other vehicles, but many uninformed people do think that bikers are supposed to go against traffic- it just seems natural.

  • DOT officials systematically ignore their own good data. Quite simply, once speeds exceed 20mph the chance of a pedestrian surviving any type of collision rise astronomically. 30mph seems to be the standard for “slow” streets in America, but the data, collected by the engineers, demonstrates just how much more dangerous that increment of speed is for other users of the street. good for the European cities…they seem to have brought speeds on most urban streets to 30km, which makes good sense. It still provides for efficient movement, and it saves lives.

  • Chris in Sacramento

    Ca c’est bon!

    The “bicycle bell” mentioned at about 2:46 is something we’ll need to push here as quieter electric and hybrid vehicles become more commonplace.

  • Ben

    People who don’t ride bikes in the city usually say it’s because they don’t feel safe on a bike because people drive like rabid analy-expulsive drunkards. C’mon government, How safe are you keeping the people when they’re afraid to ride bikes?

  • The “bicycle bell” mentioned at about 2:46 is something we’ll need to push here as quieter electric and hybrid vehicles become more commonplace.

    Yeah, but if Andy Bernard had had a “bicycle bell” on his Prius, he wouldn’t have been able to silently sneak up on Dwight and pin him against the hedge in the most recent episode of “The Office.”

  • I should add that the episode opens with a scene featuring one of the more creative uses of one of those “Your Speed” radar-gun digital displays that I’ve seen.

    OK, no more TV talk. Great Streetfilm, by the way. Another reason to love Paris.

  • Philip

    Looking out for each other! Who would have thought?

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