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Bertrand Delanoë

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

9:23 AM EDT on July 18, 2007

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 embracecongestion pricing, and if Albany remains its intransigent self, Mr.Bloomberg should get over his fascination with London — and lookinstead at what’s happening in Paris.

Last week, BertrandDelanoë, Paris’s maverick and popular mayor, introduced the world’slargest and most ambitious bike-share program: 10,600 bikes (scaling upto 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 modestfee, Parisians (and tourists) can now pick up or drop off a bike in anyneighborhood in the city. Riders no longer need to worry about storingtheir bikes in tiny apartments. The program’s high-tech stations maketheft virtually impossible. And with about twice as many bike stationsas Métro stops, a free bike is pretty much always within reach.

NewYork’s subways and buses are already at capacity, and as we prepare toadd one million new residents by 2030, our existing mass transit willrequire improvements that will take years (if not generations) to putin place. Mr. Bloomberg has fewer than 1,000 days left as mayor. Hisbest chance at securing an environmentalist legacy is to embracebike-sharing.

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