Thursday, January 23, 2020

How Paris became a cycling success story—and built a roadmap for other cities

The City of Light became the City of Bike, and U.S. cities should take notice.

By Patrick Sisson Jan 15, 2020

Paris’s great success in improving cycling will be one of the lasting legacies of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has relentlessly pushed bike infrastructure, often to the displeasure of drivers and local officials, as part of her pledge to reduce emissions and make the city a cycling capital. Hidalgo’s efforts have also set an example that U.S. cities should follow: Think big, and don’t be afraid to talk about climate change and transportation.

Instead of relying on shared bike and bus lanes as it had in the past, Parisian officials decided to focus funding on protected cycling lanes, following a philosophy of fewer but better. The city has surpassed its goal of creating 10,000 new parking places for bikes by 2020, but lowered its target for building out bike lanes.

According to Ken McLeod, the policy director of the League of American Bicyclists, the success in Paris has come in large part from presenting a bold, citywide plan, instead of the gradual way many U.S. cities add such infrastructure, upgrading corridors one at a time after lengthy trials.

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