By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published October 04, 2012
A recent essay in the Toronto Star compares Paris to Toronto:
Paris was built for horses and buggies. While the main streets are broad, the inner streets are anorexic. If you want to witness the war on the car, watch a Renault double park there. We have nothing but space, and we are stingy; they have no space and still they share.
This echos many of my observations. I especially agree with her comment that it is strange that Toronto (and even more, Hamilton) claims that we don't have enough space for bike lanes, pedestrian streets or patios while very dense and bustling Paris has been willing to dedicate scarce road space to pedestrians, bikes and public transit.
This is even more impressive considering that essentially no one cycled in Paris 10 or 15 years ago! Similarly, in Vancouver it is council pushing the cycle lanes and trying to convince the public that it is a good idea.
The difference here is political leadership (or its absence).
I am always amazed at the repeated claim that fitting Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Hamilton is a big challenge. We have very wide, under-capacity streets so it should be a cinch compared with European cities, like Grenoble and Bordeaux, that have managed the trick.
The unspoken assumption is: It will be a challenge to fit in LRT or bike lanes or pedestrians ... without taking any space away from cars.