The latest “household travel” survey highlighted the importance of walking in Strasbourg.
- One out of every three trips made by its residents are made on foot
- One trip out of two (52 %) for city centre residents
- The central railway station generates some 24,000 pedestrian trips, involving some 40% of rail users, while some 800,000 pedestrian trips are made in combination with the public transport system.
This adds up to a total of 532,000 trips on foot every day. This is a large number, but is still not enough, as 25% of all trips of less than 1 km are still made by car. The priority target to encourage walking needs to be car users and public transport.
The 10 points of the pedestrian plan
To encourage walking and demonstrate the enjoyment it can bring, the city of Strasbourg is organising walking-related events and partnerships as well as producing communication media and maps giving distances and times.
More space for pedestrians
Encouraging walking means providing enough space for pedestrians. The City’s new charter for its public spaces, implemented when roads are renovated or redesigned, sets out a target of giving over some 50% of the total distance between the buildings on either side to pedestrians and cyclists.
Reducing friction between pedestrians and cyclists
The relationship between pedestrians and cyclists is not without friction, the former feeling their safety is at risk, while the latter are obliged to curb their speed. To help alleviate the situation, the City is planning alternative cycle routes, and additional parking facilities at the start of pedestrian zones.
Using local urban planning to facilitate pedestrian access
For walking to be encouraged, the walkable road grid needs to be as extensive as possible. This involves, for a city the size of Strasbourg, the installation of pedestrian crossings every 100 metres or so. Facilitating walkability also means providing for pedestrian passage through cul-de-sacs and including the provision of crossing points within the budget of the concerted development areas.
Earmarking 1% of major transport budgets for improving pedestrian access (tram, bus rapid transit, etc.)
In a further step to encourage walking, the City is introducing measures to make it easier for pedestrians to use public transport. New tram or BRT stops will be designed to facilitate pedestrian access.
Encouraging the introduction of the walking bus in Strasbourg schools
The City is also setting out to encourage its younger population to walk. One of the initiatives is the school “pedibus”, or walking bus, whereby pupils form a group to walk to school or home, supervised by volunteer adults.
Improving pedestrian circulation on the 50 kph routes
One of the aims of the City of Strasbourg is to ensure the safety of pedestrians along busy streets. The aim is to make pedestrians and motorists more easily visible to each other, through removing obstacles blocking visibility at pedestrian crossings, the construction of pavement extensions and improved streetlighting.
Facilitating pedestrian crossing
Encouraging pedestrians also means reducing waiting time for safely crossing a road, by the introduction of pedestrian traffic lights and also by providing innovative solutions at busy interchanges.
Removing infrastructure impediments
In order to improve walkability, the City is setting out to redesign infrastructures and waterway crossings in order to remove impediments to pedestrian passage.
Creating of a pedestrian highway system
The city has a long-term project for a system of pedestrian highways linking districts which are under 2 km apart. The network will incorporate the main points of the pedestrian plan, including 50% of space reserved for pedestrians and easy road crossings.
This plan will be accompanied by the creation of car/pedestrian shared areas, whether pedestrians have priority.
In European cities where the “learning curve” has been surmounted and the hype surrounding the very existence of bicycle infrastructure it turns out that the same frictions (between pedestrians and cyclists) that exists stateside persists. Cyclists (exactly like their motorist counterparts) are constantly having to keep their speeds in check while navigating areas where slower moving pedestrians have the right-of-way.
And while American cyclists like to paint themselves as the “victims” of the roadways, that is not at all true. Pedestrians die at a greater rate that cyclists. In fact when you rank motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in terms of their likelihood to die while in transit, cyclists are the safest of all.
This is seldom the impression you get when reading the ChainLink Forum and others like it around the country. In these “bubbles” it is always the cyclists who is fighting for his life. Well, that misinformation needs to be laid to rest. It is also the case that the most vulnerable of cyclists are those riding in suburban settings, not the ones in urban settings who struggle to paint themselves as the most vulnerable. That is a myth of self-delusion and one that will persist until the Cycling Advocacy groups have milked their victims dry.
Contrary to popular opinion it is the suburban cyclists who are in the greatest need of bicycle infrastructure and should be receiving the “lion’s share” of the state and federal grants to any region. We need to get large bloated bureaucratic bureaucracies like Chicago off our backs and complete our suburban streets and link up our paths to form bicycle superhighways.