Is Nice a city where it is impossible to live without a car? This ranking shows it

Nice is still not a city where the car can be left in the garage, according to our colleagues from Le Parisien, who have just published a ranking among the 96 city-prefectures in metropolitan France. (©CBL / News Nice)

A recent study ranked the city-prefectures where you can live without using a car. While the biggest cities appear in the first places, you have to go down the ranking to find Nice (Alpes-Maritimes).

Five criteria assessed in 96 cities

This ranking, established by our colleagues from Parisian and published on their website, Saturday, October 15, 2022, evaluates this ability to be able to move without a car in the 96 city-prefectures of the metropolis.

It takes into account “cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, the number of supermarkets, the proportion of home-to-work journeys on foot, by bicycle, by public transport and by other vehicles, as well as the proportion of households with at least one car”.

For each of these five criteria, The Parisian assigned a score from 0 to 20. Our colleagues then assigned a coefficient and produced an average for each city, ranking them from where the car can be left to where it remains the preferred means of travel.

Grenoble in the lead, Nice… 34

In the end, Grenoble is the best city in France with a score of 17.78/20. It is ahead of Lyon (17.35/20) and Paris (17.25/20). Lille, Bordeaux, Rennes, Strasbourg are among the top 20 cities in the ranking. And Nice? She’s not there.

One has to look a little further to discover that the French Riviera capital occupies 34th place, with a slightly higher than average, 11.65/20. Or between Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) (11.93/20) and Nevers (Nièvre) (11.47/20).

However, the big cities leave the “privileged”

The Parisian however, explains that “cities that are highly populated – and therefore dense – are privileged”. Transport close to homes, shops and offices, large cities have the capacity to reduce the space of the car. Although Marseille is in depth, in 48th place, due to the presence of Calanques in the middle of the city and the weak cycling network.

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However, no explanation is given for Nice’s assessment. Here are some elements that could provide clarification and show that the city is moving towards multimodality, without leaving the car behind.

The bicycle difference in the city

On the cycling side, the Federation of Bicycle Users (Fub) rates Nice among the worst French cities in its barometer, revealed at the start of 2022, on the basis of 591 returns from the field, despite some notable improvements, such as on the Promenade des Anglais .

However, another ranking by an insurance company placed Nice as the third best city in France for cycling. Without considering users’ feelings.

The metropolis of Nice is staying the course with the construction and development of 160 km of cycle paths. In the city, rue Dante was inaugurated in July with a two-way lane (often used by cars). Others are planned: work is underway in Carré d’Or and rue Trachel. Those in rue Cassini have just begun.

“If a lot could happen [de la voiture]they would”

Gaël Nofri, traffic assistant, recalled him in March toNews Nice “We don’t have an anti-car policy! It’s not so much that people in Nice are attached to the car: I think that if many could do without it, they would”.

But who can we point the finger at? The geography and history of Nice, already according to the elected: “Most of our streets are inherited from a history and a geography”, referring to the relief of the city “surrounded by land between sea and mountains, coastline and hills”.

The development of the tram (late)

When coming down from the hills, it is still necessary to combine the means of movement and ensure that the car does not enter the city center. The tramway is still new in Nice compared to other major cities in France (line 1 inaugurated in 2008, lines 2 and 3 commissioned in 2019). Park and ride facilities, such as the one recently opened in Gorbella, promote multimodality.

And the tram continues to develop with lines 4 (to the west) and 5 (to the northeast) “and their park and amusements”, recalls Gaël Nofri.

Calming city center

30km/h zones are currently being implemented in the city to “avoid the transit loop”, as are the removal of red lights and the construction of “green frames” to “naturally reduce speed”. Two-way cycle paths are part of the ongoing works in the Carré d’Or, for example. Rue Cassini, traffic will be reduced from two to one lane.

The Low Emission Zone (ZFE) was especially created following requests from the prefecture to the city, as Christian Estrosi recalled during the Transition forum. The town hall has for many years asked for the abolition of the Saint-Isidore toll on the A8: “It promotes the crossing of Nice for a certain number of transit trips”, believes Gaël Nofri.

And better come by train

What about coming to town? The train can be a good solution, provided you are traveling short distances. The trip Nice-Marseille by TGV takes the same time as by TER, around 2.30. That’s more time than in… car.

This is a problem that the new Provence Côte d’Azur line must solve in the long term. Multimodality is also required with the new Nice Saint-Augustin station, which connects users to the train, the airport (whose Terminal 2 expansion project has been validated by the courts) and the tram.

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