The capital of France will invest around €250M ($286.7M) to become the most bicycle-friendly city on the planet. Paris will use the money to advance its infrastructure and increase the available network of cycle lanes to turn the city 100% cycle-friendly. The investment to convert to a cycling city will be through a dedicated 5-year urban project, Bike Plan.
Strengthening The Infrastructure To Convert To A Cycling City
Within a period of 5 years by 2026, Paris will add another 180 kilometers to the existing bike lanes. The area set aside for parking bicycles will also be tripled, from 60,000 to 180,000.
The plan for converting to a cycling city by 2026 will also lead to an investment in an improvement of the existing infrastructure surrounding the major connection points from the city to the suburbs. This will create better incorporation across the greater metro areas.
The initiative to convert to a cycling city was taken after a large number of residents took to their cycle with vigor during the COVID-19 pandemic, shunning regular means of commuting.
At present, around a million bikers cycle every day but are hampered by a lack of proper supportive infrastructure. To convert to a cycling city, the bicycle lanes have to be dedicated. At present Parisians share lanes with motorcycles and cars. The cycle lanes are separated from motor vehicles by just a paint marking, making riding bicycles in Paris a dangerous proposition.
To convert to a cycling city, the administration has also assured residents of better road rules and an increase in the number of cops on the road.
The use of motor vehicles is leading to a health crisis and Mayor Anne Hidalgo had announced plans to convert Paris to a Cycling city by encouraging the utilization of bike lanes and generating more space for pedestrians and cyclists. There are plans also to discourage the use of motor cars.
The anti-congestion and anti-pollution drive imposed during the pandemic will be reinforced thus helping Paris convert to a cycling city even as the roads are reopened after the pandemic.
Major cities across Europe plan to convert to a cycling city
Many cities across Europe are encouraging cyclists to return to the roads. Amsterdam is a cycling city in its true sense and continues to improve its bicycling infrastructure. They have upgraded their parking lots and built more infrastructure to make cycling a pleasant experience for their citizens.
There has also been an increase in the number of low-speed streets for cyclists. Major crossings are also being redesigned to ensure that cyclists are safe on roads filled with cars and motorcycles.
Berlin is also taking measures to turn into a cycling city. It has new plans for superhighways for bicycles that are already being implemented. Berlin plans to majorly promote cycling as a part of pollution-control measures.
The initiative has been commissioned by the Department for Environment, Transport, and Climate Protection and has plans to introduce 30 bicycle paths in the city. 12 of them have already been approved and will be independent of motor vehicles. The city has ambitious plans to create a friendly and risk-free environment and plans to increase the bicycle numbers on city roads to 2.4M by 2025.
The Deputy Mayor for Urban Transportation in Paris, David Belliard has says that the plans to convert to a cycling city are an integral part of their plan for social and ecological transformation for the city.
At present, there are 300 kilometers of cycle tracks, 1,000 kilometers of bike lanes, and another 52 kilometers of provisional tracks. There are 30,000 parking stands, and 1,000 spaces exclusively for cargo bikes. There are also 40,000 secure parking spaces for cycles.
There are also 2,400 electric charging points and 10 fast-charging ones.
Other cities that have made significant strides to convert to a cycling cities include Barcelona, Brussels, and Milan.
Jill Warren, the CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation has said that the plan for a cycling city by 2026 is a leap forward for Paris and will make the city more attractive and liveable.