Vive la bicyclette! A Record editorialParisians' embrace of the Vélib program has attracted much attention, including recent reports on National Public Radio, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, numerous blogs, and other international media outlets. In only its first two months, Vélib has attracted more than 53,000 members, increased its fleet of bikes by 40 percent (to 14,000), and seen more than 3.7 million rides. By any measure, a success.
Thousands of car-crazy Parisians upbraided their mayor when he announced a plan to take away car lanes and replace them with space for bicycles. Now the City of Light has bought 10,000 new "public" bicycles, with an eye to about 16,500 more by the end of 2007, and many of the same people who vilified the mayor are riding the bikes instead.
American cities and towns, including traffic-swamped Pocono communities, should take a look at how the system works. In Paris, the advantages are obvious a scant two months after the program's launch. Vehicular traffic is down. Noise is down. Pollution is down. Parking is easier. In a surprise to most, commuting time is down. Bicycling, it turns out, beats both cars and the Metro. Paris is growing greener and quieter. (Read more.)
On the day the Texas Transportation Institute released its annual Urban Mobility Report on U.S. traffic congestion--summed up in one word: worse--this supportive editorial from Pennsylvania rightly asks, Why not here?
Image: Web capture. Vélib station near Jardin du Luxembourg.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips