Comparing Public Space in New York City and Paris
Native Parisian Clémence Morlet describes some of the innovative and ambitious programs in paris to make the streets of paris a more multi-modal and shared experience.
The Pedestrian Paris Initiative, for instance, “is changing Paris streets by freeing and activating the public space through wider sidewalks, reused former parking strips in adding café terraces, benches, greenery, fountains, or bike racks to enhance street activities and uses. ‘Pedestrian Paris’ has also focused on new and fairer mobility rules between motorized vehicles, public transportation, bikes, and pedestrians, implementing lower speed limit areas with new bicycle and pedestrian street rights.”
As for transforming public spaces into shared spaces, “[the] Pedestrian Paris Initiative was followed by a street-sharing action plan launched in 2013 with quantified and short-term targets to extend 20 MPH zones, create new shared spaces, and implement specific rights for people on bikes and pedestrians. In practice, a shared space has to be opened to any modes of transportation under a 12 MPH speed limit with pedestrians having priority over any other users. Pedestrians can circulate on the pavement if they do not stand and bikes can circulate in both directions in every street with free right turns (at crossroads with traffic lights).”
Progams in New York that compare to those ambitious programs, according to Morlet, include the Plaza and Neighborhood Slow Zone Programs.