In the beginning, Michèle Künzler, a state councillor formerly employed in the Department of the Interior and Mobility, implied that voting for the “Let’s Save our Parks” initiative could condemn the project for a tunnel under the city’s harbor.
I have to say that hearing the representative from the Verts, an ecological political party, utter the words “harbor crossing” was an important moment, especially in light of the party’s desire to cause traffic jams, and their insistence on staking everything on the bridge, which is to be constructed in the distant future. But, the fact is that she only talked about it in order to announce bad news…
In his article he cites pronouncements made by Christian Grobet, originator of the “Let’s Save Our Parks” campaign.
"A simple local by-law cannot be put forward against a cantonal law,” explains Grobet, the deputy of the Ensemble à Gauche. Clearly, the higher law takes priority. “Therefore, France Avenue is not included within the protected area. If the tunnel starts from there, the ruling does not change anything. So hypothetically, if the underpass approach encroaches upon city land, the state could expropriate it,” notes the deputy.
Grobet’s initiative was therefore not an attack against the tunnel project. And Mrs. Künzler is right to become worried because this will allow her to become better informed on the issue. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to vote yes for the tunnel next year. It seems that a majority prefer the idea of a long lake crossing, to a highway bridge off the shore of the Pallanterie.
That may be so, but there are two things to consider:
The bridge is planned for thirty or fifty years from now. The continued refusal to increase the price for license plate stickers is not going to be convenient for the federal financing of national roadways. Therefore, it would not be a good idea at all to wait and do nothing.
On top of the delay, the highway bridge will clear a negligible amount of traffic and European transit. It will have a limited impact on traffic within the near proximity of the river.
The tunnel is therefore truly useful, and complementary to the future bridge. A region like Geneva, and the neighboring country of France, deserves to have several good transportation routes, for the quality of life of their citizens and for their economies.
Therefore, yes to the tunnel beneath the harbor in 2014.
But, what about the beach? Will it be prevented by the new by-laws passed on November 26, 2013?
What can be done to ensure that public officials, especially those belonging to ecological parties, are aware of how political and legal decisions affect plans for urban development?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.
Original article, originally published in French, here.