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Paris aims for 15 per cent modal share for cycling by 2020

French capital unveils details of its Plan Velo for 2014-20 - but investment will need to be stepped up

Paris aims for cycling to account for 15 per cent of all trips in the city by 2020 and aims to turn some of its underground car parks into massive cycle parking facilities as well as installing a new network of cycle paths. It’s likely to need a significant increase in investment, however.

The proposals are contained in the Mairie de Paris’s forthcoming Plan Vélo, due to be published in December once details have been agreed with all 20 of the city’s arrondissements. Some details were revealed at a meeting at the 11th arrondissement last Tuesday, and have been reported by Le Monde.

An engineer in charge of the project for the French capital’s city hall unveiled proposals including giving over tunnels currently used for car parking to bicycles, starting with one located on the Avenue du Maine in the south of the city.

Other proposals include cycle paths designed to make them clearer to all road users running on some of the city’s major arteries, including the Avenue de la République and the Boulevard St-Michel, as well as the Avenue du Champs-Elysées, although the issue of whether they should run on the carriageway or the pavement, depending on the location, will need to be resolved.

Levels of cycling in Paris are believed to have trebled since 2001, although in 2008 – the year after the Vélib bike-sharing scheme was launched, and the last for which which data are available – modal share stood at 3 per cent, compared to 47 per cent for walking, 33 per cent by public transport, 12 per cent by car and 4 per cent for motorcycles.

The city plans to identify locations where cycle parking is currently over-subscribed or under-utilising, and there are plans to install more spaces at junctions throughout the city, as well as the secure facilities already mentioned.

What is unclear at the moment is how much of a budget will be devoted to fulfil the plan. During the municipal election campaign earlier this year, the green candidate in the municipal elections earlier this year, Christophe Najdovski described the €25 million devoted to cycling from 2008-2014 as “poor.”

Now, as the deputy mayor in charge of transport in the coalition his party formed with the socialists to govern the city, he needs to find the money to pay for that vision.

Cycling campaigners remain sceptical about the city’s plans to boost levels of cycling. One, Kiki Lambert from the group Mieux se déplacer à bicyclette [Better to get around by bike] told Le Monde: “If we really want to get to 15 per cent of cyclists in 2020, we need to make space for them.”

Meanwhile green politician Pierre Japhet, responsible for transport in the 11th arrondissement, said: “It’s more of a transitional plan than a disruptive strategy.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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7 comments

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Airzound | 9 years ago
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Rome ne s'est pas faite en un jour.

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enas | 9 years ago
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This is joke. As the article reminds, the current modal share is a mere 3%, a ridiculous rate even by British standards. The objective of 15% is itself not so ambitious, but it makes no doubt it won't be achieved in 6 year's time. If you understand French, it is obvious that they still don't get cycling seriously, to an almost comical extent. A best of:

Le simple marquage au sol est l’option la moins coûteuse, […] la création d’une piste sur un « trottoir élargi », en prenant de l’espace à la voie, la solution qui a la faveur des associations de cyclistes, présente un coût « très élevé », selon la mairie.

(free translation: painted cycle lanes are cheap, but unfortunately they're useless, on the other hand, properly designed cycle paths are expensive, so we don't really want to go down that route)

Les architectes se montrent en outre très sensibles à la "symétrie" des grandes avenues. Il n’est ainsi pas envisageable de créer, dans une avenue en pente, une simple piste dans le sens de la descente, et des aménagements plus structurants dans le sens de la montée.

(free translation: we won't put any cycle lane on the Champs Elysées, because any solution done on the cheap will be asymmetrical, which is, oh my God, clearly an affront to the sublime beauty of this boulevard, much more than the thousands of cars that clog up this road more or less constantly, incidentally destroying the facades of the monuments with their dirty diesel.)

I wouldn't hold my breath. This being said, cycling in Paris is generally much more pleasant than in London. But that's mostly due to cars moving so slowing that they don't feel that intimidating to cyclists. In some ways, Paris is the vehicular cyclist's paradise. And the lame 3% modal share shows how far vehicular cycling brings us in terms of making cycling mainstream.

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bikebot replied to enas | 9 years ago
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enas wrote:

This is joke. As the article reminds, the current modal share is a mere 3%, a ridiculous rate even by British standards. The objective of 15% is itself not so ambitious, but it makes no doubt it won't be achieved in 6 year's time. If you understand French, it is obvious that they still don't get cycling seriously, to an almost comical extent. A best of:

I know a lot of people miss this, but when cities quote modal share it refers to all means of transport, not the share of road transport.

Tube, train, bus, walking, the lot.

The number is also per head, not vehicle. If you have a road with twenty bikes on it and one bus with twenty passengers, the modal share would be 50%.

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GREGJONES | 9 years ago
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The same is true of Lyon, the enormous car park lining the Rhone was turned in to a shared space for pedestrians, cycling and recreation.
Would this happen in England?

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antigee | 9 years ago
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was in Paris during the summer and noticed that a lot of what had been traffic filled roads adjacent to the Seinne had been closed and made into open spaces for cyclists and pedestrians

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/world/europe/paris-to-cut-car-traffic-...

its all about political will.

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jacknorell | 9 years ago
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[sarcasm]But of course, this could *never* work in London, because the city is so massively different in every way.[/sarcasm]

Here's hoping we can at least finally get two stretches of real cycling infrastructure, then we can maybe get something like this in another 20 years...

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Airzound | 9 years ago
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Most French people are a LOT thinner and healthier than your average British slob. Cycling in France is a dream compared to the UK.

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