Although this article is two years old La Tribune de Genève wrote again about it and it appeared in my Google Newsfeed. I am not opposed to making cities pedestrian because I love to walk more than I like buses, trains, or other forms of transport.
I actually do like trains. When I lived in London I liked to take the tube everywhere. I wish someone had encouraged me to try cycling in London because I would have used a bike to get everywhere. I already walked instead of using buses.
If the square in front of Cornavin becomes pedestrian then this will be great for when we walk in Geneva because it means that it will no longer be one of the rare places where we really have to stop and wait for the light for pedestrians to turn green. On frequent Geneva walks it’s one of the most frustrating places. I often skipped the lights by going underground through the galleries. I’m sneaky when it comes to such things.
One of my reservations about blocking traffic through Cornavin is that it is one of the rare routes from Vaud towards Place Plainpalais without getting stuck on the Autoroute de Contournement. It will reduce traffic through the centre of Geneva but force a traffic increase on other roads.
I rarely go to the other side of the lake by car because of how terrible traffic is and I’d be even less likely to go to the area around Plainpalais after that route is blocked.
In my opinion, if you want to dissuade people from using cars, and if you want to reduce traffic the best method is to make public transport more appealing. I use the scooter and walk rather than taking the bus because buses are once an hour and the walk is 20 minutes whatever the departure time from my village to Nyon.
If we take the car to Geneva one of the best routes, depending on the time of day, is via Cornavin, and if that route is removed then the time it takes to get into Geneva will be even longer, and so will the time to get out. When I walked around. Geneva’s centre I saw that even more cinemas have been closed down. Only small cinemas remain, and even some of those are closed down.
After spending around three and a half weeks in Geneva I came to the conclusion that I wanted to have the scooter, not because I was too lazy to walk from Paquis to Meyrin or from Paquis to Carouge but because if you’re shopping for food and you want to get things to the fridge within 15 minutes walking speed is sub-optimal. I also believe that shops in the centre of Geneva have a mediocre selection of products and that because of this people are forced to range further, with a car or other form of transport, to avoid exceeding the 15 minute time between shop fridge to home fridge.
If you want to reduce car use you need to make everything available within a 15-minute walk. Beyond fifteen minutes the duration is too long. I don’t trust buses and trams so I used the scooter.
The last time I cycled with shopping I fell and broke my arm so I’m less inclined to do that again. I was using an old bike and I think the brake jammed, but it demonstrated why it might be safer for me to keep using the scooter. I think a cheap bag with side bags would be just as effective.
I went off topic but I think that making squares pedestrian is not enough. Geneva needs to ensure that people no longer need cars to get from A to B. Cycling needs to be made safer and finally public transport, and especially trains, should be increased so that you never have to wait 20 minutes or more for a train to get in or out of Geneva. I think that placing a pedestrian square there is illogical unless you pedestrianise the streets from the lakeside to Cornavin. Imagine walking from Cornavin to Perle Du Lac without stopping at a traffic light, or from Cornavin to Place Des Nations or Place Plainpalais. That would make taking the train into Geneva appealing if it was possible every ten minutes.