Corona-cycleways: Paris Mayor Wants Residents to 'Forget' What It's Like to Cross City in Cars
Anne Hidalgo was reelected as Mayor of Paris in June | Image credit: AFP
Paris's new Mayor is on bicycling high. Freshly re-elected Anne Hidalgo in a recent interview maintained that she will be keeping her manifesto promise to make residents of the French capital cycle more by increasing the number of lockdown cycleways.
Known as 'coronapistes' in French, these refer to the cycle lanes that were created especially during the coronavirus lockdown to allows Parisians to travel across the city without cars.
In May, Hidalgo, who has campaigned against car use in the capital since entering City Hall in 2014, added a provisional 50 km of additional cycling lanes Paris as she sought to capitalise on the shifting public mood. As in other cities worldwide, authorities in Paris are keen to encourage a safer, and environmentally friendly, form of transport as they try to halt the spread of COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the new coronavirus that has so far killed more than 27,000 people across France.
In a recent interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, Hidalgo said, "We must forget the crossing of Paris from east to west by car," adding that the city needed to "evolve".
She also said that she planned to increase the number of protected cycleways in Paris.
Paris already had more than 1,000 km (620 miles) of bike lanes before the virus hit. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, 45 kilometers of coronapistes have so far been added. As per a Forbes report, 10 km more of "wand-separated cycleways" will be built next.
The mayor added that she had given the nod to seven new temporary cycleways while also promising a permanent, protected cycleway enabling commuter to travel long distances in the city.
The announcement comes at a time when more and more Parisians are rushing to buy new bicycles or hauling old ones to the repair shop in an attempt to avoid crowded buses and metro trains and minimize the risk of coronavirus infection.
(With inputs from Reuters)