Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't Forget the Suburbs


If you thought 20,600 Velib' in Paris was a lot, well try on 28,100 for size. According to Conde Nast Traveler, Velib' will be expanding by the end of the year by 7,500 new bikes and 300 stations to Paris' inner suburbs. For those keeping track, Velib' will be expanding by a quantity of bikes that, if as its own separate program, would be the second largest program in the world.

It looks like it's smooth riding for even more Parisians.

image credit: batigolix

1 comment:

ericbritton said...

Thanks for sharing this news Paul, but this is not quite as neat as it may look from afar. For starters let me invite you to travel around in those nearby suburbs and see for yourself if their infrastructures are ready for safe cycling.

Then too, you have to think about what we call in French “pendularity”, that is the strong swings in the morning from people who live in the near suburbs and want to travel to Paris to work. Given these dynamics the basic trend will be for those 7500 bikes to make their way into the center, join the other 20k for internal circulation use there during the working day, and then at the end of the day make their way back to the burbs.

This is not to put down this important idea, because indeed as we are seeing in the Greening of Paris (http://www.paris.newmobility.org), the central area is more often than not the place where the best new ideas get started. And then the next step is to see how wee can extend them in the more difficult to serve suburban areas. This is of course a "must do", but it’s always a good idea to take aim before pulling the trigger (to use a phrase that the NRA holds so dear).

Our near suburbs need better internal circulation systems probably as an even higher priority than the use of the popular Vélib’s do that workers can make their way to central jobs. The trick will be to think it through so that we are able to do both. Though I would say that the priority is on providing better internal mobility for those surrounding towns and townlets. I very much hope that this will be thought through carefully in the months ahead. Stay tuned.

Eric Britton