Comment 93571

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:38:25 in reply to Comment 93566

Actually, based on the cases I know best, Paris and Vancouver, these changes were almost entirely the result of strong support from the Mayor together with active buy-in from staff. These cities changed quickly because the change was supported politically and financially by the Mayors of these cities (Delanoe, Bloomberg, Robertson ...) and staff followed.

And I lived for five years in Paris and 23 years in Vancouver and 15 years in Hamilton, so I've had lots of opportunity to see the grass up close to find out where it is in fact greenest ;)

There was definitely some community support in both cities, but the changes were controversial, and were implemented because the Mayors wanted them and staff actively supported the changes both at the policy level and in day-to-day trade-off decisions in infrastructure.

Compare and contrast Vancouver's website

with Hamilton's

to see what I mean by active staff support (both were the top hits from "Vancouver/Hamilton traffic engineer"). You'll notice that Vancouver's site is called "streets and transportation" (recognizing the fact that complete streets are the goal), while Hamilton still thinks of streets as infrastructure for motor vehicles.

Paris is an extreme example: as far as I know there were no significant grass roots campaigns pushing for bike rentals or protected cycle lanes ... largely because there were almost no cyclists in Paris 10-15 years ago! As is usual in France, the Mayor decreed it, the engineers implemented it, and they ignored the complaints of drivers and merchants. The same thing had happened earlier with pedestrianized streets.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-10-23 12:46:50

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