Adele Peters, writing in Fast Company on April 4, takes her readers inside Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s ambitious plans to create the post-car city.
Paris is a world city. It has been for centuries.
World cities spend a lot of time thinking about how they can be better and then go and do it.
World city wannabes, like Windsor, spend all their time wasting time. It is the calling card of Windsor’s Council. When Windsor does break with its wont of doing nothing, it is usually wrong. The first item in Peters’ report shows just how far removed Windsor is from 21st Century thinking.
Hidalgo, the, “… first female mayor of the French capital wants to clean the city’s air and lower its carbon footprint. The solution: more walking, more bikes, more public transport—and fewer cars.”
Windsor is against and somewhat aghast at clean air. It has lived with the bad stuff for so long, it seems to think dreadful air is normal. Instead of doing something about it, its former mayor, Eddie Francis, went in a totally draconian direction.
Francis pulled toxic air breathing plants from road medians. These courageous soldiers of better air were replaced with the insult of artificial grass. At the time, Francis bragged about how nice it looked. It was unadulterated glitz.
Glitz always wins in Windsor; at least with a Council with a Francis among its members.
It was so far removed from what advanced communities are doing it simply marked Windsor as a distant, at least from world cities, backwater. That is rather notable given the city sits south of the progressing Detroit.
While Hidalgo wants more bikes in her city, Windsor’s confused, small-minded councillors banned the simple convenience of a bike path when work was approved to revamp the main artery into its quietly diminishing downtown.
It seemed Council had sunk to its lowest level, but it proved its critics wrong and went lower.
Money from the Federal government will help Windsor buy 24 so-called clean diesel buses, but diesel buses nonetheless. Every major city in Ontario west of Toronto is investing in the future, not the past, by building fixed path rapid transit systems.
Because of this, they have all left Windsor in their dust.
Windsor’s Council is locked in 1938 mode, the year diesel buses first appeared. Hidalgo, on the other hand, is very 2017 and is working hard to eliminate pollution though new electric tram-buses and by banning all diesel cars by 2025.
Windsor could show leadership and stop the purchase of diesel buses, but that won’t happen. Windsor plans to continue as a backwater burg in which it prefers to be inward and foolish.