Tuesday, July 17, 2007

ExperienceLA Checks Out Green Transit in Paris

On Sunday, July 15, 2007, Paris unveiled its new communal bike program to get people out of their cars by using public bikes for short distances around Metro stops and popular destinations. In addition, Paris has been removing traffic lanes to install bike lanes and cutting across the south of Paris, a new electric tram (trolley) , the T3 line, using the latest design and technology methods opened for service in November 2006. The Mayor of Paris is aggressively making the neccessary public improvements to get people out of their cars.

Thus, all over Paris, the communal bike stations are appearing. The whole program is designed for short term use, and one checks outs a bike with a credit card deposit, and very affordable rates for small amounts of time. You can return the bike at any station. The picture shows a full bike rack in Montmartre on opening day, but the rest of the week, most of the bikes were checked out. I am sure the system will have growing pains, but when the system is fully deployed across Paris, it will be a major statement that Paris is serious about being a Green City. With the installation of exclusive bike lanes, this will become one of the most bike friendly cities in the world.

The use of trams to move people along major streets in Paris is also part of long range planning for Paris. These trams are quiet, make many stops, and are easy to get on and off. There are no barriers to keep cars from crossing the tracks in front of the trams. Drivers understand not to try to beat the tram across an intersection. Purpose of trams and trolleys are to help create a sense of place, and the T3 tram or trolley demonstrates how a trolley could serve Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, whether it be a modern look or historic replica.