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Grenoble's Lessons for Hamilton

Grenoble's Lessons for Hamilton

Re-balancing our urban transport network is possible, but it takes time and a real political campaign to change people's minds.

By Nicholas Kevlahan

A streetcar station in downtown Grenoble.
A streetcar station in downtown Grenoble.

The centrepiece of Grenoble's impressive public transport system is a modern streetcar network, but it has also included extensive re-engineering of the streets to make them friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.

When compared to Hamilton, where transit use has actually declined over those same twenty years, one wonders how they did it.

Was it simply a result of progressive mayors? Did the national government mandate the changes? Has Grenoble always had an excellent public transport system?

I recently returned to Grenoble for a visit, and was lucky to meet the driving force behind many of these changes. It turns out that the change began over 30 years ago, in 1974, when Jean Sivardi