You just have to walk around the Grand Ensemble of Sarcelles to realize this. In these streets congested with cars, there are no, or very few, cyclists. And even fewer cycle paths. At a time when “corona tracks” are popping up everywhere in the towns of Ile-de-France, and when the bicycle is establishing itself as the new solution for travel, the east of Val-d’Oise seems more than ever lagging behind.
“It’s simple, there is nothing! exclaims Yann, 50, a distinguished runner. The little existing development, either it is not secure, or it is not cleaned. The former “neopro” devotes himself to his passion on the “country” roads, around Domont or Attainville.
“If I have to drive in town, I don’t do it during rush hour, it’s too risky, says Pierre Baudin, fellow traveler and unionized official (Unsa) at the town hall. I have already been hit by cars twice. “
“It will take time” according to the mayor of Villiers-le-Bel
Cyclists deplore a lack of political will on the territory. “Few of the inhabitants use the bicycle for their daily journeys, it is a reality. But if there were the infrastructure, awareness raising on the subject, they would get started, thinks Yann. The two are linked, that’s for sure! “Pierre takes the example of the arrival of the tram, on avenue du 8-Mai-1945, where” no sharing of the road was thought upstream “.
The mayor (DVG) of Villiers-le-Bel, Jean-Louis Marsac, admits “a delay” and says that the municipalities are starting to take the fold. “I see more and more residents with new bikes. We are now integrating a cycle path in all the roads that we build or renovate. But, I must admit that it is not enough, he confides. It will take time. “
Parking, another problem to be solved
The elected representative quotes the Boulevard Salvador-Alliende, where a passage for two wheels has been materialized on the sidewalk, “without it being very secure”, he admits. “We thought for a long time that it was not for us, but we were certainly wrong,” continues his counterpart (PS) from Sarcelles, Patrick Haddad.
The mayors want to solve the problem of parking, while the collective housing units do not have, for the most part, a bicycle garage. “You cannot leave him outside, or on the forecourt of the station, at the risk that he is no longer there at night,” says Jean-Louis Marsac. Like Patrick Haddad, he is thinking about installing bicycle shelters near the station, partly financed by the Ile-de-France region and the SNCF.
Cycling makes more sense as you get closer to Paris
The lack of infrastructure also highlights a social and ideological break. The “vélotaf”, soft mobility, sharing the road, the “eco-friendly” way of life … These emerging concepts seem very far from the concerns of the inhabitants of eastern Val-d’Oise, and more broadly of popular neighborhoods. They are more significant in the capital and its inner suburbs.
“It does not adapt to their lifestyle,” supports Grégoire de Lasteyrie. In these areas, the car is often essential to go to work. The closer you live to Paris, the more meaningful cycling is. The distance between home and work is greater in the outer suburbs. “
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“It is above all a phenomenon of executives, average CSP +, sores. The bicycle still has a degrading image in impoverished environments, ”continues Dominique Rioux, transport and mobility engineer at the Paris region institute.
However, according to the expert, the bicycle could be a vector of development of the territory and allow non-motorized inhabitants to access a job. “If you draw a radius of 10 km, the distance known as” reasonable “For a bike ride, around the Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle platform, you find these precarious cities, with high unemployment rates, he says. Why not create a cycle path to connect them? Cycling is inexpensive, and is ideal for this population. “