Lyon inspires REALLOCATE partners during study visit

15 April 2024

Lyon inspires REALLOCATE partners during study visit

Last week Lyon demonstrated to project partners that the City is, quite literally, accelerating towards a sustainable future! As highlighted by Valentin Lungenstrass, Deputy mayor of Lyon, during his welcome speech, the City is taking a bold, global approach to mobility; focussing on the environmental perspective as well as social justice. With new cycling paths, pedestrian areas and parking measures the vision is a city where citizens can move freely wherever they live, in particular school children.

The work is by no means complete; REALLOCATE partners witnessed not only the highlights but also the challenges – for example, how can the City build broad cycling networks in the narrow streets of the cultural heritage areas? Nevertheless, the aims are high, and the mobility and urban planners are always finding new ways to overcome obstacles. This was apparent during the various site visits, organised to inspire and share knowledge.  These included tours of Lyon’s ‘schools streets’ (rue des enfants), a cycling tour of Lyon’s spacious bikes paths (Les Voies Lyonaises) and walks down the Rue Garibaldi, which almost magically transformed from an 8-lane highway into a green cycling and public transport haven within 10 years, as well as visits to Lyon’s very own superblocks! A perfect example of Lyon’s approach in the race towards sustainability, the superblocks initiative  - which transformed busy roads into partially pedestrianised, safe and green areas - was an experiment by the City, implemented with a small team, without architects or outsourcing. Pierre Soulard of Métropole de Lyon explained:

"We made mistakes, we learned from them, and we achieved huge successes, fast. Sometimes, you just need to dare and get things done!"

Key themes, inspired by speeches from expert advisory board members, Tom Rye, Professor of Transport Policy at Molde University College, and Melissa Bruntlett, Urban Mobility Advocate and Advisor, focussed on communication, language and bringing more empathy into mobility planning. Rye highlighted that the way we communicate about mobility affects the way it is perceived e.g. is a car-free street a road closure or an open street? Meanwhile, Bruntlett reminded participants of the real human reasons for redesigning our streets; our communities, in particular our children, are happier if they have green, liveable and safe streets for them to move around in, so they can explore, learn about risk and lead independent and happy lives! The way we move around our streets has an invisible impact on our well-being; cycling and walking not only get us from A to B, but these active modes of travel reduce obesity, depression and social isolation.

More than 70 participants from the 37 project partners participated in this study visit. The event also served as a platform for the final planning of the REALLOCATE pilots, which are due to begin in the coming weeks. Watch this space for more news on the launch of the project pilots.

Image: Lucy Russell/ ICLEI Europe

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European Union

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme under grant agreement No. 101103924. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Mission Cities

REALLOCATE is a project under the CIVITAS Initiative, an EU-funded programme working to make sustainable and smart mobility a reality for all, and contributes to the goals of the EU Mission Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities.