cycle lanes

7 reasons why Lyon is winning as a city for people by Kwinten Lambrecht

I recently went on a trip to Lyon. It's a true example of how a city can make its citizens happy. It has a holistic approach to city planning and designing public space. Lyon has the same size as Brussels, around the same numbers of inhabitants (1.3 million) and counts even 40 more municipalities than Brussels does. Nothing is impossible, Brussels!
From what I have seen Lyon is a safe, clean and vibrant place to live, eat, drink and work in. Take good care of your people, and people will take care of your city.

The cycling infrastructure

More than 650 km of safe cycle lanes, bridges and connections.

More than 650 km of safe cycle lanes, bridges and connections.

Les quais

The quays next to the river Saône are an amazing place to hang out, sport, bicycle, walk. That's how you embrace water in your city!

The quays next to the river Saône are an amazing place to hang out, sport, bicycle, walk. That's how you embrace water in your city!

The cycling tunnel

This tunnel, only for cyclists, pedestrians and electric buses connects two parts of the city. Photo via  Almost Landing .

This tunnel, only for cyclists, pedestrians and electric buses connects two parts of the city. Photo via Almost Landing.

Green spaces

Everywhere you go you can find green pavements, small parks, flowers. Green spaces help to support new ecosystems and to cool down cities.

Everywhere you go you can find green pavements, small parks, flowers. Green spaces help to support new ecosystems and to cool down cities.

The open air swimming pool

You may not be able to swim in the river, but Lyon does have amazing open air swimming facilities; something Brussels is craving for.

You may not be able to swim in the river, but Lyon does have amazing open air swimming facilities; something Brussels is craving for.

Squares

This photo is taken in Villeurbane; Lyon has many squares with sports facilities, skate parks, ...

This photo is taken in Villeurbane; Lyon has many squares with sports facilities, skate parks, ...

There's a public zoo!

In the massive Parc de la Tête d'Or you can find a magnificent botanical garden and.. a zoo! Free of charge!

In the massive Parc de la Tête d'Or you can find a magnificent botanical garden and.. a zoo! Free of charge!

Cher Alain by Kwinten Lambrecht

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Cher Alain, dear Alain,

Look at you, standing bravely on a piece of no man's land between diesel fumes. Well done, you made it to the papers with a nice quote announcing that you would block the construction of cycle lanes on the dangerous Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, even if you had to block it physically.

I will be honest with you, cher Alain, I've had it with politicians of your generation. You are from the same angst generation as the ‘Brexiteers’ and Trump voters among us: conservative, anti-change and changing your opinion whenever it serves your personal interests. You are using fear as an argument to counter progress. 

You are a sports fan, given your previous role at the Belgian Football Association, but you don't want people to use the bike, exercise and stay healthy? You want, and I quote, 'traffic fluidity' in Brussels? You are the Alderman for sports, but you don't want people to move around actively? What is your agenda, Alain? 

I see, you are the Alderman of 'Seniors' too, perhaps they are more receptive to your messages like 'invasion of the bicycle' and 'bullying cars'? We all noticed on your infamous Facebook page that your Senior fans were cheering for you, and your tough language: 'Send that Flamand back to where he belongs!', 'Is he still sick?', 'Well done Alain!'. You are scoring goals for your voters, Alain, well done.

Cher Alain, let's try to use a different argument. What is your view on the impact of car use in our, your city? What about the lungs of your, our children and grandchildren? Do they deserve brown fluids in their lungs or traffic fluidity? Many cities around us, not far away even, are approaching public space, mobility and city life in a completely different way nowadays. Academics, visionary Mayors, researchers, citizens all over the world are striving for a better city. Why? Because we love living in cities, not driving. Thanks to politicians like you Brussels will never be able to lead by example on these matters, but will have to follow with years of backlog.

Cher Alain, how is still possible that you and your 18 other colleagues in other Brussels' municipalities can block or destroy holistic plans, based on arguments such as "that street should be 30cm wider, so we cannot construct cycle lanes"? Your generation of inward-looking politicians will make our generation, which is not afraid of change, lag behind for years to come. The consequences of your short-term 'status quo' policy will have a disastrous impact on us, citizens, and your, yes Alain, your city.