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.

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