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.

New
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
bike-sharing.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Following New York’s Lead, London Plans Protected Bike Lanes

|
When it comes to urban transportation policy, Americans often look longingly across the Atlantic. Paris pioneered big-city bike-sharing, London showed New York that congestion pricing works, and Sweden set the goal of eliminating traffic deaths. But here’s a case where New York is leading a peer city overseas. In 2009, London Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled a […]

London Announces Billion Dollar Bike Plan

|
Proposed routes for bicycle "superhighways" serving London commuters. New Yorkers already envious of London’s congestion pricing system have a fresh reason to look wistfully overseas. A few hours ago, London Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled a £500 million ($940 million) program to build extensive new bike networks and launch a Velib-style bike-for-hire system. Bike Biz has […]

Weiner on the Environment: Big Talk, Small Stick

|
Where’s the beef? Under Rep. Anthony Weiner’s plan, vehicles, like the one above, would not be charged a fee to use New York City’s most heavily congested streets On Monday evening, just hours before the federal government’s announcement that it would give New York City $354.5 million to kick-start Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, Rep. […]