Walking and cycling receive public acclaim during health crisis

Since the 11 May, public space has been reorganised to give more room to pedestrians and active modes of transport. How can public space adapt and how can these so called “urbanism tactics” accelerate the transformation of the Greater Paris - Grand Paris Metropolis - towards becoming a “quarter-of-an-hour”, decarbonised city?

Temporary cycle path set up on Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle in Neuilly-sur-Seine

The Covis-19 crisis profoundly questions our ways of travelling, living and relating to our home in Grand Paris. In order to address the physical social distancing rules, territories are instigating temporary initiatives. These measures are directly inspired by tactical urban planning: cycle paths, street pedestrianisation, widening of pavements, setting up cafe and restaurant terraces on parking spaces… A total of almost 210 km of temporary cycle paths will see the light of day in Grand Paris. 

The crisis has definitely boosted the reduction of public space given to cars in favour of bicycles and pedestrians. These initiatives could mark a long lasting change in mobility habits in favour of active modes, while over 70% of journeys made within the metropolis (all motives included) are of under 3 km and 45% of Parisians’ home-work journeys are under 5 km, that is 14 to 20 minutes by bicycle.  

The “temporary” modes of transport and habits which have been put in place since 11th May could be forerunners of transport modes and “tomorrow’s streets”, linked also to climate and air pollution issues. Based on the transitional arrangements set up as lockdown is being lifted, Grand Paris, its public, private and civil society players, could give thought to how to further and speed up the evolution of Grand Paris becoming a ¼ hour, decarbonised city. 

La marche et le vélo plébiscités en période de crise sanitaire © Apur


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    Walking and cycling receive public acclaim during health crisis

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