Le Figaro Lyon
Mid-term, the ecologists of Lyon believe to validate their campaign promise, that of "rebalancing the place dedicated to the different modes of transport". Fewer cars more bikes in the clear. Surfing on a fundamental trend, Greater Lyon announces a 10% drop in car traffic since 2019 in the metropolis, "even more marked in the city of Lyon". At the same time, there has been a 15% increase in bicycle traffic over the last 12 months. But a modal share that would turn according to different studies around 10%, against more than 40% for the car, with strong social and geographical disparities. To accentuate the trend, the president of the community, Bruno Bernard (EELV), stresses the need to secure parking, thanks to the inauguration of a new park in Part-Dieu, but especially the journeys, with the now famous Lyon roads. A project of 250 kilometers of express cycling network for 280 million euros invested, of which only a few sections have been delivered in three years.
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Logical, therefore, to have summoned the press to the Velcroc, this café workshop for cyclists located a few meters from the Lafayette bridge, known in Lyon for its tracks that zigzagged between the streetlights. "This development is a great success," boasts the president of Greater Lyon, pointing to the new wide sidewalks and bike paths gained through the removal of a car lane. It ensures continuity between Part-Dieu and the Presqu'île via a Lafayette course dedicated to buses and bicycles. This is also the meaning of these bicycle highways, connecting the ends of existing tracks and improving them to create comfort and safety of use. As for the cycling café, it must testify to this creation of an ecosystem around cycling, like the incubator of specialized companies at the Grand Plateau in Villeurbanne or these future areas with bike pump and water fountain that will flourish along the tracks.
Specifications that are too ambitious?
We are improving pedestrian safety and comfort, in particular by removing bicycles from the sidewalks, continues Bruno Bernard. We green and waterproof every time and allow public transport to benefit from efficient corridors." This is the other leg of the ecologist project, to give a boost to the TCL network, which celebrated its 500,000th subscriber a few days ago, against 410,000 in 2019. Its web continues to expand while the extension of line B of the metro - voted under the previous mandate - will be inaugurated on October 20. Two new tram lines will complete the offer in the East. "A more virtuous mobility that generates a gain in purchasing power," says Bruno Bernard.
The Cours Lafayette, once congested on several lanes, testifies to this drop in traffic. Haussmannian artery linking the heart of the peninsula to the economic lung of Part-Dieu, it enjoys an urbanism that has allowed this transformation, not without a few honks. But the very ambitious specifications of these Lyon roads, requiring a significant footprint, are sometimes pointed out for their unsuitability for roads. Especially since it is necessary to act without cutting a tree. "The ideal is 4 meters full for the Lyon lanes, but there are places where we are 3 meters. We have enormously modified the specifications with a very pragmatic approach," says Fabien Bagnon, Vice-President in charge of active mobility and roads.
Housed in a former strip club, the Velcroc cycling café is a stone's throw from the Lafayette Bridge, recently refurbished. A.S. Le Figaro Lyon
Blockades in right-wing cities
The latter had however been sharply targeted by the LR mayor of Bron Jérémie Bréaud, in the spring, who had described him as a "Bulldozer". The mayor convened an exceptional municipal council to vote on a deliberation opposing the trambus project accompanied by a Lyon track. Project that plans to bite on homes and commerce, arousing an outcry. "The declaration of public utility has not even taken place, this deliberation has no legal value and testifies to a political opposition to the detriment of the territory," vilifies Bruno Bernard. He also points to "political opposition of some LR mayors". "It is the inhabitants who are against it!" objected Philippe Cochet, mayor of Caluire and leader of the right-wing opposition to the metropolis. In Caluire they want to pass a highway by bike on a tree-lined greenway, 4500 people have signed the petition against". A petition also hosted on the website of the town hall.
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As the mayors no longer have any power of opposition to the community since recent legislative changes, they support these citizen movements. This is the case of Jérémie Bréaud with a handful of inhabitants of the road to Genas. But Bruno Bernard defends the many consultations conducted. "There have been more than a hundred consultations bringing together the mayors of the territory," he said. We looked at the points of difficulty and launched 25 official consultations concerning 200 kilometres of line." Thirty kilometers are problematic, as in front of the hospitals of Grange Blanche for example where executives of the main hospital of the city, Édouard Herriot, fear that the future Lyon way will obstruct the passage of help as mentioned in a letter revealed by Le Figaro.
The announced 250 km not reached
The president of the metropolis recognizes "real difficulties, on 15% of the sections with a codified road and very complicated local characteristics". This is the case of the Grand Rue d'Oullins or in Champagne-au-Mont-d'Or where the executive underlines the outcome found by consultation. "In Saint-Just there were two route scenarios and we finally arrived at a third, illustrates Bruno Bernard. In the Val de Saône, we finally left the roundabouts and integrated the Lyon roads after discussion with the mayors." Philippe Cochet, however, points out these "bicycle highways made for cyclists which some cyclists themselves say are not suitable".
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Consultations that also take time and slow down operations. On the 250 kilometers of lanes planned at the beginning of the mandate by 2026, for 320 in 2030, the president of the metropolis is already reviewing the objective downwards, "but we will be beyond 200 km". "The core network will be there, but we will have to continue on the next mandate," he warns. If the Lyonnais grant it to the ecologists in a metropolis that will therefore be largely under construction at the time of the municipal elections of 2026. "There will be a lot of construction sites indeed but also a lot of achievements," evacuates Fabien Bagnon. And to announce an acceleration of deliveries from 2024, without huge additional cost despite inflation. Unless political opposition is followed by legal remedies, as announced on the road to Genas.