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Microbuses and Bike Sharing: The New Parisian Street Scene

11:52 AM EDT on July 24, 2007

Luc Nadal of the Institute for Transportation Development Policy sends along these photos showing some of the exciting new things happening on Parisian streets these days.

We've been hearing a lot about Velib, Paris's new public bike-sharing program. But that is just one of many new transportation and public space programs initiated by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. 

paris_bikes.jpg

Paris is also building new "microbus" lines that circulate through neighborhood streets delivering commuters to subways, trains and major bus lines. "The toyish vehicles," Nadal says, "are almost as fun as the old street cars." The have low floors and wide sliding doors that allow simultaneous boarding and alighting. The microbuses hold up to 22 passengers, 10 seated, 12 standing and room for one wheelchair. They run on diesel-electric hybrid engines and they are testing a system that reportedly saves up to 20 percent in fuel and emissions by automatically shutting down the engine when the bus is not in motion. The buses cost 85,000 Euros each.

paris_microbus.jpg

The microbuses stop at 15 cm high platforms for easy loading and unloading.

paris_microbus2.jpg

This particular bus stop in the working-class, ethnically diverse Porte de la Villette neighborhood was built along with widened sidewalks, a physically-separated bike lane, new trees, and reduced motor vehicle traffic. On the other side of the street -- not visible in the
photos -- is a neighborhood park recently built on a former railyard. 

paris_microbus3.jpg

Here is a new two-way bike lane.

Paris_bikelanes.jpg

And here is an older bike lane, tucked between sidewalk and parked cars.

paris_oldbikelane.jpg

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