Voiture dans Grenoble. © Patricia Cerinsek - placegrenet.fr

30 km/h : a “cal­mer” metro­po­lis, but wor­ried eco­no­mic stakeholders

30 km/h : a “cal­mer” metro­po­lis, but wor­ried eco­no­mic stakeholders

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INSIGHT – The com­munes, which make up the Grenoble Metropolis, have deci­ded, by an overw­hel­ming majo­rity, to gra­dually reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h in the region, from the second half of 2016. A first in France on large city scale. Objectives : to improve safety and reduce pol­lu­tion. A deci­sion that was not una­ni­mous, howe­ver, espe­cially in the eco­no­mic world.

© Joël Kermabon - Place Gre'net

In 2016, the excep­tion becomes the rule. © Joël Kermabon – Place Gre’net

The 50 km/h speed limit signs at the entrance of the muni­ci­pa­li­ties, in the Grenoble area, will all be repla­ced. Starting in the second half of 2016, it will not be pos­sible to drive at more than 30 km/h, except on cer­tain major routes, which will remain limi­ted at 50 km/h. Therefore, we will no lon­ger speak of ’30 zones”, but of ’50 zones”, the lat­ter beco­ming the exception.

A regu­la­tory fra­me­work for a “cal­mer metro­po­lis”, which aims to improve the coexis­tence bet­ween cars and the most vul­ne­rable road users, such as pedes­trians and cyclists

Reduce the risk of col­li­sion inju­ries with pedestrians

For Yann Mongaburu, vice pre­sident in charge of tra­vel in the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, safety, par­ti­cu­larly for chil­dren and elderly people, is at the heart of the chal­lenges for a cal­mer metro­po­lis. « When we cross our towns and vil­lages, each per­son must be res­pec­ted and feel secure in public areas », he explains. Of course, high­lights the offi­cial, car users must have their place, just like other modes of travel.

Conférence de presse du 15 septembre 2015. © Joël Kermabon - Place Gre-net

© Joël Kermabon – Place Gre-net

That includes wal­king, « too often for­got­ten, and which cur­rently repre­sents 30% of jour­neys in Metro, » he says.

« This is a prag­ma­tic mea­sure, if not com­mon sense. Speed mode­ra­tion can divide the risk of injury in a col­li­sion bet­ween a car and a pedes­trian by nine », explains Yann Mongaburu. He adds, « A car tra­vel­ling at 50 km/h, which strikes a pedes­trian, causes one death every second. If tra­vel­ling at 30 km/h, this risk is divi­ded by nine ». This is one of the deter­mi­ning fac­tors for the safety of people in public areas, accor­ding to the official.

Acceleration res­pon­sible for 30% of emissions

What about the impact on pol­lu­tion ? Besides the fact that a car rarely reaches a speed of 50 km/h in town, the idea is to play on the effects of acce­le­ra­tion and dece­le­ra­tion, rather than on the actual speed throu­ghout the jour­ney. Indeed, the speed limits in the urban areas are too com­plex and accen­tuate the phe­no­me­non of regime changes. « By har­mo­ni­zing and sim­pli­fying the rules, while playing on these para­me­ters, we not only improve secu­rity, but we also play on pollution. »

Un schéma plus lisible et plus logique. © Métro

A clea­rer and more logi­cal schema. © Métro

« We know that acce­le­ra­tion is res­pon­sible for 30% of the pol­lu­tant emis­sions rela­ted to road traf­fic », affirms Yann Mongaburu. However, the vice-pre­sident of the metro­po­lis is well aware that there might be resis­tance. « For a rule to be accep­ted, it needs to be unders­tood », he tem­pers. « This will allow us to make speed mode­ra­tion rule more unders­tan­dable, easier for our citi­zens. We are bet­ting that they will have more res­pect, if they unders­tand it better. »

Six “dis­si­dent” com­munes in the agglomeration

« This approach is not in any case impo­sed. It is based on com­mu­nal will. This is the basis of the pro­ject. The metro­po­lis is the host of this metro­po­li­tan dyna­mic, on an unpre­ce­den­ted scale », high­lights Christophe Ferrari, the pre­sident of the metro­pole, who wel­comes that « this dyna­mic trans­cends all of the poli­ti­cal sen­si­ti­vi­ties of the communes. »

In fact, the city offi­cials have lite­rally sei­zed the bull by the horns, using a pro­vi­sion of the energy tran­si­tion law. Passed during the sum­mer, it pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity for muni­ci­pa­li­ties to set a maxi­mum speed lower than the offi­cial limit.

Christophe Ferrari. © Nils Louna - placegrenet.fr

Christophe Ferrari. © Nils Louna – pla​ce​gre​net​.fr

However, appa­rently not all of them are convin­ced of the rele­vance of this approach. Six towns out of the forty-nine that make up the metro­po­lis, have refu­sed, for now, to join the project.

Christophe Ferrari, howe­ver, has no doubt that some will come round : « The pro­cess is star­ting. Others will join us after City Council debates, with their elec­ted repre­sen­ta­tives », he reas­su­rin­gly predicts.

Among the six “dis­si­dent” com­munes, the first deputy of the muni­ci­pa­lity of Meylan, Jean-Claude Peyrin, spoke in an article in Le Monde on 15th September.

« This is a false “good idea”. We have ‘30 zones’ in Meylan, but to esta­blish a speed limit, it is neces­sary that moto­rists consi­der it legi­ti­mate. Prohibit just to pro­hi­bit, it is not use­ful, » he declared.

Again we speak about com­pe­tences trans­fer­red to the metropolis…

There are elec­ted offi­cials who go fur­ther and raise other ques­tions. This is the case of Jean-Damien Mermillod-Blondin, Mayor of Corenc and com­mu­nity Advisor. « The real pro­blem of the metro­po­lis, where it slips up, is “how do you drive at 30 km/h in many places, and during dif­ferent times of the day, in view of the conges­tion level in each agglo­me­ra­tion?” », consi­ders the official.

De gauche à droite : Christophe Ferrari, président de la Métropole et Mermillod-Blondin, maire de Corenc. © Joël Kermabon - Place Grer'net

Christophe Ferrari and Mermillod-Blondin. © Joël Kermabon – Place Grer’net

If the Mayor accepts this limi­ta­tion in the inter­est of consis­tency, it will be under seve­ral conditions.

« Firstly, it will be me who decides where the ’30 zones” will be. Secondly, as agreed, it will be the metro­po­lis that pays for signal­ling. Thirdly, it makes rea­lis­tic pro­po­sals about where we drive at less than 30km/h and at 30 km/h. Fourthly, I want the Metropole to review its posi­tion on the enlar­ge­ment of the A480 ». Indeed, he consi­ders that this fourth condi­tion is one of the first solu­tions to be imple­men­ted, in order to begin decon­ges­ting the city.

In order to bet­ter unders­tand the representative’s posi­tion, it must be known that during pas­sage in the Metropolis, each of the mayors was asked whe­ther or not they would waive their power to police traf­fic on the roads. Optional juris­dic­tion in this case. Mayors who did not give up this juris­dic­tion have the legal right not to sub­mit to Metropolitan will. It will be up to them to deter­mine zones and cor­res­pon­ding speed limits. Suddenly, not so simple. The har­mo­ni­za­tion and consis­tency desi­red by the Metropolis may suf­fer a major setback !

AN ONLINE SUGGESTION BOX

In addi­tion to the regu­la­tory changes, it is also an oppor­tu­nity for the com­munes to rede­sign public spaces. Grenoble-Alpes Métropole seeks the exper­tise of its people, to do this ; an “online sug­ges­tion box” is already in place.

This is the peo­ple’s chance to pro­pose their ideas, such as the pedes­tria­ni­za­tion of cer­tain streets during cer­tain hours, pla­cing benches, or even the recon­fi­gu­ra­tion of places and areas sur­roun­ding schools. It’s open to the imagination !

« This is not revo­lu­tion, but evolution »

For Christophe Ferrari, it is not a ques­tion of « revo­lu­tion, but evo­lu­tion. » As evi­dence, he cites the cal­cu­la­tions pro­vi­ded by road ser­vices, which tend to show the weak influence the new mea­sures would have on the flow of traffic.

Profil de vitesse théoriques

© Gre. Mag – Philippe Mouche

The figures show that in the case of a limi­ta­tion of 50 km/h, the ave­rage tra­vel speed is 18.9 km/h, and in the case of a limi­ta­tion of 30 km/h, it is 17.3 km/h. The dif­fe­rence would be insignificant.

The President of the Metropolis is convin­ced : « This action is the begin­ning of a new way of thin­king about the ques­tion of public spaces, to improve coha­bi­ta­tion bet­ween dif­ferent modes of tra­vel, reduce pol­lu­tion and revi­ta­lize the local shops. » Implicitly with the hope of increa­sing the attrac­ti­ve­ness of the public trans­port network.

Revitalize trade ? Not sure…

Regarding the revi­ta­li­za­tion of com­merce, Jean Vaylet, pre­sident of Grenoble’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), does not believe it will. « Reducing the speed is a somew­hat dog­ma­tic approach. As head of the eco­no­mic world, I believe that any­thing that reduces the flow of traf­fic is anti-eco­no­mic », declares the pre­sident, denoun­cing a lack of consis­tency with the pro­blems of the local eco­nomy. « We would pre­fer to give a bet­ter image of Grenoble, than with sub­jects of this type. I do not think that this will revi­ta­lize trade at all, and the tra­ders are of the same opinion ! »

© Joël Kermabon - Place Gre'net

© Joël Kermabon – Place Gre’net

A view sha­red by Philippe Gueydon, pre­sident of Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) in Isère. « This is ano­ther way to constrain move­ment around Grenoble, while busi­nesses need the exact oppo­site ! » he deplores.

« All the sta­tis­tics in our pos­ses­sion show that Grenoble, and more gene­rally the south of the depart­ment, is in the pro­cess of an eco­no­mic decline. Our per­for­mance is below the natio­nal average. »

It is not for lack of having acti­va­ted the alarm, accor­ding to him. « For seve­ral years, the Medef has been trying to edu­cate the elec­ted offi­cials on the pro­blem of move­ment around the Grenoble basin. We have to advance on solu­tions ! What the enter­prises expect is that it is only a bet­ter flui­dity of traf­fic, and not a gene­ra­li­za­tion of the speed limit to 30 km/h, which will bring about this result. »

He consi­ders that one single mea­sure might have wor­ked, on condi­tion that was put in place, in paral­lel with a real pro­gram of invest­ment in the infra­struc­ture of roads. « Then it would have made sense ! » conclu­ded the president.

Joël Kermabon

80 % ’30 ZONES” IN GRENOBLE IN JANUARY, 2016

What about Grenoble’s city centre ? Not sur­pri­sin­gly, the city of Grenoble fully sup­ports the ini­tia­tive, almost 80% of the muni­ci­pa­li­ties of the metro­po­lis are in agree­ment. On the sub­ject of the new future speed limits, there will be a short delay at the begin­ning, but this will be sor­ted out qui­ckly, if one believes Eric Piolle, the mayor of Grenoble.

V© Ville de Grenoble - www.grenoble.fr

Click on the map to dis­co­ver the 30 and 50 zones. © Ville de Grenoble – www​.gre​noble​.fr

« Today we are less advan­ced than others, with only 25% of lanes res­tric­ted to 30 km/h. It will be 80% from January 2016, » says the official.

For the imple­men­ta­tion of the speed limit plan, the offi­cial empha­sizes the spe­cial atten­tion that will be paid to the situa­tion of the elderly, who are increa­sing in num­bers, and to chil­dren, espe­cially in regards to areas around schools and to their safety. An oppor­tu­nity for him to take ano­ther look at the school plan, where the idea of​a « city for the chil­dren » is widely dis­cus­sed, and finds its trans­la­tion in the idea of a cal­mer metropolis.

Traduction from Speak English Center

Phone : +33 4 76 50 39 79

1 ave­nue du Vercors, 38600 Fontaine FRANCE

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