Le Figaro Bordeaux
Saddle up! This is the motto of the “vélorution” organized this Saturday in Bordeaux by all the city’s bicycle houses. Volunteer cyclists are called to Place Nansouty at 17 p.m., in order to demonstrate by pedaling to the Caudéran district. Through this two-wheeled mobilization, the associations intend to influence the ongoing consultations around the redevelopment of the boulevards of Bordeaux, a large-scale project that concerns a total of six municipalities in the metropolis.
We want to reclaim the public space on cars, by demanding a necessary cycle path, in its own lane, on the boulevards,” explains VéloCité, a local association that promotes cycling in the city. The boulevards, a major axis encircling Bordeaux and touching the municipalities of Bouscat, Talence, Bègles, Cenon and Floirac, have already been redeveloped by the ecologists when they came to power in Bordeaux in 2020. Formerly a 2×2 lane for motorists, one lane is now reserved exclusively for buses and cyclists. The catch? For cycling enthusiasts, this sharing of the road is not ideal. A point of view shared by the municipality, but which wants to take the time for consultation.
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A 30% reduction in pollution
In all our developments, the safety of bicycles is a priority,” insists Didier Jeanjean, deputy mayor in charge of nature in the city and peaceful neighbourhoods. “On the boulevards, it works in several stages. First of all, we had to prove that we could have a structure with two lanes.” Three years after it was put in place “in a hussar-style“, according to the mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, this measure is presented as a success: the use of the boulevards by cyclists has exploded, and pollution has fallen by 30% on this busy axis. “This speaks in favour of the future,” says Didier Jeanjean.
For this ecologist politician, the dedicated track (separate from buses) is only a matter of time. “Wherever possible, cyclists must have a safe lane. On some of the boulevards, there’s plenty of room.” The idea is therefore gaining ground, but before starting this work, a consultation must take place in Bordeaux and in the other cities concerned. “In September 2023, the boulevards and barriers project will enter an operational phase,” explains Bordeaux Métropole. The inter-municipal association and the cities concerned “are betting on the implementation of an innovative urban project, giving pride of place to experimentation, particularly in terms of public space“.
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“Prioritise public transport”
From 2023 to 2026, the city intends to “initiate, activate, test, convince” and then “transform, adopt and sustain” these developments until 2040. “Our goal is to go as far as possible,” says Didier Jeanjean. According to him, “we can’t afford to do a project that only meets current needs.” The elected official specifies that these developments for “the boulevards of the 50st century” will meet the needs of users “for the next <> years“, and first and foremost those of pedestrians. “It is therefore necessary to give priority to public transport, used by pedestrians, with dedicated bus lanes. Then, soft mobility as safe as possible, and once we have settled these two issues, we will have to strengthen the place of nature.
Completely redesigning the boulevards will therefore take more time than simply realigning a lane. 130,000 people live along these 19 kilometres of roads and are invited to give their opinion during five consultation workshops between October and December 2023 in the metropolis. These meetings will serve as a basis for the “reference plan” and future project management consultations. In addition to the place for pedestrians, buses, cyclists and motorists, this monumental project also aims to move “from a road space to an urban space“, to make the barriers (the crossings) “major places for the revitalisation of the boulevards“, to enhance the architectural heritage and to strengthen economic and leisure activities. Extensive program.