Streetfilms: Sharing Street Space in Paris

Here is another Streetfilm by Elizabeth Press from her trip to Paris last summer. This time she focuses on shared street space in the City of Light, where the understood "street code" dictates that users are responsible for those with lighter vehicles — i.e., cyclists look out for pedestrians, car drivers look out for cyclists, bus drivers look out for cars, etc. This, combined with relatively simple calming devices, makes it possible for bikes, taxis and buses to share lanes safely, and allows for street designs that would seem impossible in most cities, like unprotected contra-flow bike lanes.

My takeaway from this vid: It’s amazing to see what is possible when everyone just slows down.

  • A note for engineers on the conversion of speeds on Parisian streets mentioned in the film:

    15 km/h = 9.3 mph
    20 km/h = 12 mph
    30 km/h = 19 mph

    That is SIGNIFICANTLY SLOWER than most engineers design and plan urban roadways. If anything, our practice is to post a speed (say 35mph) and design for faster speeds (40 to 50 mph) in the name of “safety”.

    Bah and humbug to you, American civil engineers!

  • That’s a great video. I appreciate the sharing of these ideas. Just the knowledge that these ways of sharing the roadways is working in a major city should be a wake-up call to our city planners and elected officials.

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