Smaller car, more bicycle, in Mulhouse, residents are invited to make their views known

Develop soft mobility in the city by providing more space for cycling and walking, in Mulhouse the town hall shows the will to do so in consultation with the residents.

Mulhouse aims to transform itself. By 2025, the goal of the city and its urban development is to make the city more peaceful thanks to the development of so-called “soft” mobility, bicycles, scooters, walking, while reducing car space. The project largely consists of widening the pedestrian street of the historic center and developing cycle paths in the urban area on about ten main axes.

Mulhouse is therefore changing, yes, but in consultation with its citizens, says Cécile Sornin, deputy mayor responsible for participatory democracy: “We need to change the relationship between city, citizens and decision makers“.

With this soft mobility project, we have created car-free days where the idea is to curb traffic and see how residents seize these new opportunities.“. During these days, users’ opinions are collected in the field through workshops led by city officials. The results of these statements are posted on the Mulhouse platform, it’s you as you go.

After this consultation phase, we return to the residents to tell what has been selected.“” The Mulhouse it’s platform, launched in 2015, also makes it possible to collect opinions live via online questionnaires, “adds Cécile Sornin.People’s participation is important: Even if you know your file, you say to yourself ‘oh yes, that might be a good idea’. Thanks to the inhabitants, we dig and think differently. We must ensure that the resident is an actor“.

There is agreement in principle on the idea of ​​getting around by bike rather than by car in the city, but the transition to reality requires a lot of pedagogy“In the city center, whose shoppers can rightly wonder how customers get to them without a car,” Cécile Sornin replies: “we will organize the logistics for the last mile of delivery“And to dubious customers that it will be possible for them to park their car not too far away and agree to walk.

The challenge of these car-free days is to lift the brakes and the fear “, explains the elected representative with responsibility for participatory democracy. “ISLANDn disturbs a lot of habits ” but in general the opinions will be quite positive.

Robert Soussan, grocer in the city center since 1985, confirms. “it must be done in consultation and gently. I knew a time when we returned to the city center, Place de la Réunion, by car. Today we have a pedestrian center and it’s nicer. As a former trader on the site, I see it in a good light, it is a positive development.“.

But there is an important condition according to him: “PBecause people like to go to the city center, they need the opportunity to park nearby“As for people who ride scooters, Robert Soussan does not lose his temper:”They believe that everything is allowed. The growing power of these devices is becoming a problem“.

On the user side, according to the CADRes association, which has been active in Mulhouse for more than 40 years, the city would present a flawed project on soft mobility. “In Strasbourg they have tram projects, public transport, to expand the offer, in Freiburg in Germany there is an extension of the tram. In Basel, Switzerland, there is talk of a 2030 metro project, in Mulhouse, nothing. The city advertises soft mobility but does not provide anything for public transport, we can not ask everyone to get around by bike. It is a city where the car is constantly driving forward“, Sums up Dominique Rosenfeld, the association’s treasurer.

They should start by believing in it“, he continues, appointing the project managers. Project, which he describes as do-it-yourself, limited to small chunks in certain areas of the urban area. A strict verdict. By comparison, bike rides in Mulhouse represent almost 3% of the total flow, whereas the figure in cities like Strasbourg is about 16% and more than 40% in Amsterdam.

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