Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The beautiful cathedral city of Strasbourg, France, has some lessons to teach the US about inner-city transit. It's interesting to note that the debate in Strasbourg wasn't over whether to build more public transit (or eliminate it), but whether to build it above-ground or underground. Ben Adler writes:
"This being France, where the entire political spectrum is to America’s left, the conservatives running for city council in 1989 actually favored building a subway. But the socialists, led by Catherine Trautmann and Roland Ries, wanted to build a new tram. Conservatives and local business owners objected, arguing that a tram would take precious lanes away from cars. But that was exactly the point: to transform streets from hectic, unpleasant gasoline alleys into vibrant, multi-use communal spaces. “The tram means that you change the city,” explains Jonathan Naas, transportation policy coordinator for Roland Ries, who is now mayor. By creating a buffer from the cars, he says, “You create places to walk, outdoor cafes to sit outside.”
Click here for a link to Ben Adler, "The French Revolution: How Strasbourg Gave Up the Car (And Why Midsized American Cities Can Too)," Next American City (Winter 2009).
Will Cook, Charleston School of Law