Paris Opens the First Stretch of Its 28 -Mile Bike Superhighway

This story initially appeared on CityLab and is part of the Climate Desk partnership .

Paris has inaugurated its first bike highway. Opening last May, the 0.5 -milestretch of freshly paved roadalongside the Bassin de lArsenal is part of theRseau express vlo( REVe) , an initiative designed to improve fast-track bike lanes free of motorized vehicles. Its only the first section of the soon-to-be 28-mile network of bicycle freeways that will cross the city by 2020.

In 2015, the city voted unanimously to spend 150 million ($ 164.5 million) on expanding and improving its biking infrastructure, including REVe( which translates to daydream in French ). Cyclists will benefit from more bike-friendly rulesincluding the freedom to reversal without waiting for a green light at every intersectionas well as new motorcycle stands and two-way motorcycle paths on one-way streets.

Sandrine Gbaguidi, a local biking blogger, rarely leaves dwelling without her bike, use it to run errands, does work, or only find a nearby ballpark. But that wasnt always the case. When Gbaguidi moved to Paris from Dakarsix years ago, she first use public transportation to get around because she was too afraid to bicycle. She bought a bicycle after three years in Parisand, as she feared, there was a steep learning veer. Youre invariably on your guard and ruffled or ruffled, reads Gbaguidi. Biking “mustve been” recreation and relaxing.

Gbaguidis initial panics are not unique. In 2014, motorcycles amounted for only 5 percent of daily traffic in the city, accounting for about 225,000 trips. Although that quantity is ripening annually, it stilldoesnt compare to the 15.5 million daily trips by gondola, tallied in 2012. Meanwhile, other European municipalities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam report 55 and 43 percent, respectively, of their everyday transaction happening on bikes.

Charles Maguin, chairperson and co-founder of Paris en Selle, a biking association, reads one ground people dont bike in Frances capital is that they don’t feel safe playing with motorized vehicles on the road. Paris en Selle was founded in 2015 when Maguin memo the lack of biking groups advocating for the cyclists safety in terms of laws and infrastructure. Parisians would rather take the Metro for a short commute than bike to act, alleges Maguin.

But Metro, while popular, is not quality for consolation or cleanliness, especially during traffic jam. Commuters breathe in more pollution using Metro than while travelling a bike, according to a study are engaged in 2009 by Airparif, industry associations monitoring atmospheric pollution in “the worlds largest” Paris area.

Above ground, Maguin was of the view that since the vehicle became popular in the 20 th century, the city has continued to prioritize autoes over bicycles and pedestrians. To this day, theres a prevail stereotype of an average cyclist as a Parisian bobo, or hipster, biking in the city with a baguette in their figurehead basket. But Maguin stresses that this clich is outdated as more parties consider biking for getting around the city. All thats missing “re in the right” infrastructure to promote more riders.

Riding a bike in Paris is as much a mental exercising as it is a physical one. Whether there were bike roads on most roads in the town today, cyclists are still being pushed out by other vehicles that share the same lane. Sharing the road with motorized vehicles causes a sense of danger, speaks Maguin.

The brand-new REVe network aims to counter that. With these brand-new motorcycle thoroughfares, the city hopes to see daily biketripsincrease from 5 to 15 percentage by 2020. The initiative will not only construct superhighways for bikes, but it will too redouble the number of bicycle lanes from 435 to 870 miles, seeing the organizations of the system most effective and inclusive. And with the creation of 7,000 more advanced stop pipelines at red lights( with priority given to bikes at every intersection ), cyclists wont be as restricted by car traffic.

Parismayor Anne Hidalgos initiative to create a more motorcycle and pedestrian-friendly city forms part of a multi-year plan to stimulate the city greener, including goals to reduce automobile congestion on its superhighways and the air pollution it creates. One of Hidalgos projections even concerns turning major expressways like the Champs lyses into pedestrian streets.

Paris en Selle salutes the mayors effort to incorporate cyclists into municipality plan, but wants to push these initiatives so far. I hope that biking gets to be considered as a viable alternative means to get around the city, and not only a project run by green parties for the Parisian hipster, speaks Maguin.

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