Apparently I'm not the only one who is peeved at the mayor of Paris these days.
Yesterday a controversial report on the circulation (traffic) in Paris was published by economists from the World Bank and the Sorbonne. It says that since 2001, Delanoë's measures have cost Paris 900 million euros (similar measures in London, four times larger than Paris, have cost "only" 170 million); drivers have wasted 62.5 million hours in traffic jams; and pollution has increased because of the congestion in the narrowed streets.
[For more on the report, see the end of this post. The Parisienne in the cartoon with King Kong, right, is referring to the report on traffic in the city. "That's all we needed!" she says. Reminds me of an old cartoon from the New Yorker.]
Basically, anyone who has to drive in Paris loathes him.
He does some nice things, though. Today I was downtown near the Hotel de Ville and went by the skating rink. It was lovely, and if you bring your own skates, it's free. There's also one at Montparnasse. Then there are free merry-go-rounds, one in each arrondissement, for the children for Christmas. The tree was up in front of Notre Dame, and as I passed, a group of school children was jumping in the air for their teachers' cameras, shouting "Eep eep OORAH! Eep eep OORAH!" as they jumped.
Although I try to avoid it, an implacable fate led me to the hardware basement of the Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville today. As usual, BHV did not have enough cashiers, even though it is Christmastime. I counted 18 people waiting in line, left. At the counter, two cash registers were closed. Maybe their cashiers were at the Paquets Cadeaux counter, though, where another long line of customers waited for their gifts to be wrapped up. In the DVD section, I met King Kong. The movie came out here yesterday.
From Le Parisien: "For the first time, researchers question the use of the bus lanes [which in Paris are now wide and protected by high barriers], evaluating their economic cost and their consequences on pollution in the capital. The result is creating unrest, as the mayor continues to reduce the space for cars, and is pushing a vast 'Plan des Déplacements' in which public transportation, bicycles and pedestrians will have most of the road....
"These new data contradict the affirmations delivered by the city for months. Especially since doubt is rising about the success of the new bus corridors [which reduce the lanes of traffic by two per road, since they are wider than normal lanes]. According to very official figures released yesterday by the RATP [the Paris public transport authority], the number of passengers on the first bus route to be thus aménagée has not risen....
"Two years before the municipal elections, the polemics are starting again. Bertrand Delanoë does not wish to comment on 'a study sponsored by the Automobile Club,' affirms his spokesman....[The economists have formally denied this accusation.] To make things worse for him, a new difficulty came up yesterday: Paris could in fact be deprived of the aid of the region in creating its new policy of transportation. An amendment added discreetly in the Assembly on Tuesday night by the Sarkozy supporter Patrick Devedjian could prevent the Left from directing the Syndicate of Transportation of Ile-de-France (Paris's département). The capital might then have to renounce some of its projects....a bad week for Delanoë."