Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

monsoon

Car Free Downtowns

13 posts in this topic

This article describes what is being called a utopia due to the absence of automobiles. Montpellier, France, would have appeared to have achieved the impossibility of modern city living without the need for cars. It does sound great. I have not been there but do any of you have more information on this city? Also what other modern cities in the world have eliminated the automobile from the city center?

cover02tr13002big.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Wow, this place does sound like Utopia with a car-free downtown. With it's large university population, it should also be a very liberal place. Looking on their tourist website there is quite a bit to do for diverse populations! I would like to see an American City try this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They could make Provincetown, MA car-free in its downtown. Make everyone park on the outskirts and walk everywhere-pretty much what happens now. Cars have to make their way through pedestrians rather than the opposite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting to see this in France. CarFree.com speaks about the "Lyon Protocol" a template for moving existing cities towards a car-free environment, which used the French city of Lyon as its model.

They could make Provincetown, MA car-free in its downtown. Make everyone park on the outskirts and walk everywhere-pretty much what happens now. Cars have to make their way through pedestrians rather than the opposite.

That comes up in Town Meeting pretty much every year, and everyone has an arguement why not, primarily that it is one of only 3 streets that run east-west through town, and that includes the highway. Even still, they should do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting to see this in France. CarFree.com speaks about the "Lyon Protocol" a template for moving existing cities towards a car-free environment, which used the Franch city of Lyon as its model.

That comes up in Town Meeting pretty much every year, and everyone has an arguement why not, primarily that it is one of only 3 streets that run east-west through town, and that includes the highway. Even still, they should do it.

You'd have to be crazy to want to drive down Commercial Street. I could see keeping Route 6 obviously car accessible, and possibly Bradford Street, but not Commercial. I think its faster to walk down it anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had proposed a car-free downtown to Richmonders and boy did they laugh... but really it'd help. We have tons of decks... well build a skyscraper mega deck and make people walk... and uncover the grand paving block and cobblestones!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not been there but do any of you have more information on this city?

Hi

I live nearby.

Montpellier is interesting because it has an old medieval centre adjoining a substantial new city. The new city began in the 1970's on land previously used as a military base. It is only 5 miles from the Med sea and has 300+ sunny days each year.

It is the prefecture for the departement of Herault, and also the capital of the region Languedoc-Rousillon.

The tramway connects both old and new via a roughly N-S route. A new line covering the E-W routes will open end 2006. They offer secure parking and return tram tickets for however many passengers are in the car for less than USD5 (cheaper than city centre parking). I use it often. The traffic free appearance is deceptive since much of the centre has roads and parking below ground level. However, both the medieval centre and new city are car free.

Montpellier is one of the fastest expanding cities in France. It has been chosen as the base for many companies involved in IT, agro-chemicals, and research. IBM, Dell and Palm all have sizeable operations. Montpellier developed into a university centre (80,000 students) very early. In fact there was a medical school (i.e. plant based) during the occupation by the moors in the 9th century AD.

There is a small expat population.

Webcam

Some photos :

montpellier2.jpg

severine11.jpg

mtp13.jpg

mtp9.jpg

mtp8.jpg

cindy5.jpg

cindy1.jpg

More photos of the area.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They could make Provincetown, MA car-free in its downtown. Make everyone park on the outskirts and walk everywhere-pretty much what happens now. Cars have to make their way through pedestrians rather than the opposite.

Provincetown is screaming to be pedestrian only - at least until midnight to 9am for loading and unloading. Provincetown or Nantucket should be the first cites to lose the car culture and hopefully new urbanist enclaves and narrow street historic districts would follow. <fingers crossed>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Provincetown is screaming to be pedestrian only - at least until midnight to 9am for loading and unloading. Provincetown or Nantucket should be the first cites to lose the car culture and hopefully new urbanist enclaves and narrow street historic districts would follow. <fingers crossed>

Also on the Cape, Chatham does not have a car free downtown but it has limited on street parking and tons of pedestrian activity with shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, churchs and offices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just some updates on Montpellier.

Tram line 2 has opened - No3 is under way.

No 2

montpellier-tram.jpg

No 1

montpellier2.jpg

Further developments :

Montpellier has had success with the park & ride tram service and some bicycle hire stations.

Extending this further, they propose :

1) Short term car rental service integrated with the public transport system.

It is based on the theory that car ownership is expensive if the car is only used occasionally. This will be operated by http://www.modulauto.net.

A modest (approx Euro 350 / yr) deposit will allow access to a car ownership "club".

Costs for using the car are based on the time (hourly) and distance covered. Proposals are Euro 1.70/ hr (more at weekends) plus Euro 0.14 - Euro 0.23 per km (more kms are cheaper). The cost is inclusive of fuel.

Cars will be based in various city centre car parks.

Similar schemes are used in other cities. It only works if the car is available when you need it - so it is a question of scale.

Press release

2)Park and ride

The scheme whereby secure parking and free return tram tickets for all car occupants is available for Euro 4 (Euro 3 for Montpellier Agglo residents) is being extended to St Jean le Sec.

3)Additional park & ride capacity.

The tram system has parking capacity for 350,000 cars / year and demand is growing at 12% per year.

Additional facilities will be added at Line2 terminii (already over congested) during the year.

Planned parking capacity :

Ligne 1

- Mosson (180 places)

- Eurom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love it. Thanks for the info mpprh. By the way, do you know what the cost of living is in Montpellier?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent article and gorgeous photos, thanks. I love the concept too, and relish the thought of doing away with unsightly parking decks and the cacophony of car-filled streets. Maybe over the next few decades Americans will warm to ideas like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love it. Thanks for the info mpprh. By the way, do you know what the cost of living is in Montpellier?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.