There is great news for those who choose to bike to work in Marseille, France. Specific signs for pedestrians and bikers have just been installed along the Promenade de l’Huveaune. With all the work being done for the new Vélodrome Stadium, a new walk and bike path has been created along Huveaune River between the Michelet Boulevard and the Raymond Teisseire Street. But this path has stayed rather confidential, certainly because of the continuing construction that won't be finished until 2016.
At the end of 2014, the city services of Marseille asked the urban planning division of Marseille Provence Metropole to install signs that would announce points of interest from either side of this path; especially since this newly created route extends to an older promenade still following the Huveaune. The promenade departs from the Prado beaches, passes by Borely Park, Gabés Park, cuts across Mazargues Avenue, joins the sports complex René Magnac and finally reaches Michelet Boulevard. The new signs, which have only just been put into place, begin at the entrance of Borely Park, continue along the beach and the free service bike station until the Palais des Sports.
But the Marseille Provence Metropole has much more urban design work to do to create a bike-friendly city, as development should not be halted. Heavier construction should be undertaken to allow cyclists to safely cross the Michelet Boulevard, and pass in front of the monumental stairway of the Palais du Sports before reaching the Dromel metro station. This path is currently the most perilous and restrictive.
At that same location, there is another path, which requires attention and improvement. It also follows the Huveaune, and leads to the Louise Michel Middle School, located at the Alfred Curtel street in the 10th district.
One day, hopefully, this path will become a real greenway that allows for travel from Marseille to Aubagne, from the beaches to Garlaban, all the while following the Huveaune. By then, the water and, all other biking issues, will have flowed under the bridges of this small coastal river.
Does your community have safe bike and pedestrian paths with wayfinding? How important is the availability of bike and pedestrian paths for a community? Do they only contribute to sustainability, or can they also help connect a city? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French here.
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