Monday, June 27, 2011

Nice Discourages Private Vehicles

                                      Our 3 year old Nice tram, place Massena (Winter)

  I don't have the official word on this, but it seems that Nice is implementing the idea that has been adapted by many European countries now, to lower carbon emissions by making the city unfriendly to cars and inter city buses.

Today I see an article in the New York Times explaining the movement across Europe.

In Nice, the Gare Routier, the central station for out of town buses, was torn down this year  to make way for one planned next to the Airport.  Unfortunately, the new one has not yet been built  so these buses are loading across town in various locations....a mystery except to the information centers and my friend Gail, who lists the new stops on her blog :

Also, I understand that the city is about to eliminate the most popular city parking across from the old town.  And as far as I know there are no plans to replicate this 3 level garage in a new location.  They can't dig beneath it either because the Paillon River runs beneath.  I can only imagine that this one parking facility is a big source of revenue for Nice so it does seem counter productive.  One hopes there is a bigger plan afoot.

In addition, last year a lane of parking was removed from the famous Promenade des Anglais in order to widen and extend the bike lane along the sea as far as Cagnes sur Mer.  And starting this year we have a great system of bike rentals and electric car rentals all over Nice, showing even more effort to reduce carbon emissions.

As for myself , I don't have a car, am used to public transport and am pleased with the bike paths.

The problem though, is that the idea is moving rather faster than the update of public transportation and services. The extension of the tram along Av de Californie will not be started for several years yet.
And if we are to load the buses and trams with people laden with packages, we need more buses.  We are already too crowded on bus and trams, and need additional services.

I do have access to a car, and I can tell you that the reason to have it is for cumbersome or heavy items one wants to haul or buy occasionally.  I can't imagine taking rocks ( that fall off my steep hill behind the house) to the city dump without a car or bottles to be recycled to the centers around town without the help of a car.  Delivery is quite pricey for items like furniture for example.  Much easier to put it in your car.

One wonders how all these changes will affect the average pocket book?  It will probably be less expensive to take public transport,  not to fill a gas guzzler with expensive fuel but private cars fulfill many different needs in people: prestige, ease and comfort, need for solitude etc.  It's a complex problem.

 Because yes, while I applaud the desire to honor the Kyoto agreement, preserve the planet and make cities more people friendly, it will take sacrifices and "mind shifting" that I don't see happening.  I mostly hear a lot of grumbling that there is no place to park.

   The question will be, is Nice ready to move with the changes required to have a healthier planet?  Can we as residents, embrace these needs?  Are we ready to change our attitudes about convenience, speed, efficiency, cost etc?   Or will we dig in our heels so to speak?

Without a doubt, we will be required to give and be flexible in the years to come.

Without a doubt, we live in exciting times.


  1. You could almost replace "Nice" with "Seattle" in this post, Mary. Much of the same is going on here. Some people have proclaimed it a war on cars. I get around to most places I need to go in Seattle just fine without a car. However, where I live now (West Seattle) I might feel a little stranded at times without it. Also, a car is useful for the things you mentioned, but perhaps a public car-share program (Zipcar, et al) in tandem with better transit, public education, ect. is needed.

  2. "Interesting conversation, Mary. Yes, we live in exciting times."


  3. Nice has the dirtiest air of any city I've lived in. The culprit? Diesel fuel emissions from autos, motos, trucks, etc. Until authorities
    legislate for cleaner air we're doomed to suffer. If New York could clean up its air, and they have, Nice should do it.