The article ‘How Paris is Beating Traffic Without Congestion Pricing’ was written by Ben Fried, the Streetblogs’ editor-in-chief on 22nd April 2013. The article reflects on how congestion problem has affected major cities, for instance New York. Bertrand Delanoë, an elected mayor in Paris succeeded in reducing congestion on public roads without necessarily introducing a fee for the motorists. Political views suggested that levying a fee would affect the overall income of the working population in Paris; this meant that the majority in the city would reject the idea. One of his earlier means to reduce congestion was the introduction of congestion fee, which failed as motorists influenced by political forces felt it would be inappropriate to pay money to access the urban core. The mayor introduced a culture that favored pedestrians, bikes, and transit.
The mayor and his deputy formulated a strategy in the year 2002. The plan involved launching an initiative to reduce traffic in the city’s residential areas and to improve the pedestrian space. They introduced residential parking permits that are available at a nominal annual fee. There was a transition from six lanes to two traffic and two bus lanes to increase the sidewalk space. The reform process took time to implement, but the results are positive. New York developers can adopt these strategies to reduce traffic and congestion on public roads.
One of the main lessons is that a city can operate in a proper manner, without levying fees on motorists for parking purposes. Paris succeeded in reducing congestion without charging the motorists; there are diverse ways to reduce congestion, for instance, separating the motorists and pedestrians lanes. Increasing sidewalk space is essential while constructing roads because it helps to reduce congestion. It is vital to observe patience; the policies in Paris took three years to formulate and successfully implement. The city dwellers were patient and enjoyed the benefits of the road transition. There was coordination of activities after delivery parking areas were set in Paris for storeowners, contractors, and other short-term business operators.
The missing factor in the article is the ability to discern the characteristics and design of both cities: New York and Paris. The policies to reduce congestion in traffic were successful in Paris, but are not guaranteed to perform well in New York. The ideas are not totally biased; other cities can adopt similar strategies to reduce traffic congestion. Paris is a smaller town than New York and the strategies were successful, this means there is no bias. It is essential to note that not all policies in Paris can be effective in reducing congestion in New York.
Paris is now a congestion free city through its successful implementation of policies to reduce congestion. The mayor did not use the congestion pricing strategy because it would affect the urban dwellers. New York can adopt some of the strategies from Paris to reduce congestion. One of the strategies includes a coordinated annual parking fee for motorists and extension of street lanes for pedestrians. There should be a demarcation between the buses’ lanes and bikes to avoid unnecessary traffic congestion. People should acquire knowledge on vital traffic rules, especially on usage of the set road lanes. New York City can adopt the Paris’ strategy to plant trees in the streets by embracing a ‘green neighborhood’. This process can make the city a pace setter for other cities to emulate.