at the beginning of March, an experiment takes place in the Grande rue Saint-Michel in Toulouse: the road has become a one-way street to leave more room for pedestrians and especially cyclists.
The Grande rue Saint-Michel and its hundred shops see cars passing by on a single lane while in the other direction, only bicycles and buses are not authorized. The experiment began on March 7 with the aim of “appease the neighborhood” according to Mayor Jonnhy Dunal. “We are still at the trial stage, there are efforts to be made, comments to be taken into account, but the majority of people have taken it very positively,” he testifies.
On the spot, the opinions are rather sliced. There are those who saw only an increase in traffic jams, others who expect some effort and those who are completely won over. This is the case of Françoise, a shopkeeper in a bulk sale shop. She goes, without exception, to public meetings to discuss the arrangements to be improved but is convinced that the solution can be lasting. “I am annoyed by the people who are going to petition against this development when the problems of traffic jams, parking and delivery are problems that existed even before the experimentation”, support the trader. A little further on, Sébastien runs a driving school and is much more sullen about this test: “I no longer have places to park the four cars I use for lessons, it’s complicated to make changes of students.”
“I understand the concern of traders”
Added to these problems are concerns. Will the one-way street limit traffic? Will retailer sales decline? Guillaume Drijad, president of the neighborhood committee, tries to reassure them: “I understand the concerns of traders, but these are short-term risks. The project will lead to a calming of the neighborhood and an extension of the city center. Customers will get into the habit of getting there on foot or even by bike.” On June 20, a first report of the experiment will be examined.