Bordeaux on its way to becoming a 'soothed' city

Author: Clémence Burgue

The city of Bordeaux has implemented its action plan “Pour une ville apaisée” ("For a soothed city"). This plan follows the ambitions and challenges identified by two metropolitan plans focused on active modes (download the walking and cycling plans). These plans, which were approved in November 2020, are supported by Handshake. With this action plan, the city aims to reduce the space dedicated to cars and promote active modes. It is divided in four main actions:

Speed limit reduction

Since January 2022, the maximum speed limit was authorized to be 30 km/h in 89 % of city streets, in comparison to only 37% before the plan (see the map: in bold the few remaining roads with a 50km/h limit). This number is expected to increase in the coming two years, in addition to the prioritization of road users coming from the right, suppression of traffic lights, narrowing of car lanes, widening of bicycle paths and a wider application of two-ways cycling paths.

Pedestrian neighborhoods development

Since February 2022, the pedestrian zone in the city center has undergone changes that will increase the zone from 40 ha to 65 ha by 2023. In doing so, user comfort will be improved, and cars will be redirected to large car parks on the outskirts; in addition, delivery times will be further regulated to limit disturbances from trucks.

Streets for Kids program implementation

In order to make the trip to school safer for children, the City of Bordeaux plans to close the streets in front of schools from car traffic for fifteen minutes before and after the school day. This decision encourages children to make the streets their own. The Streets for Kids program was recently unveiled, and several schools are already implementing the concept. It is expected that 80% of Bordeaux schools will adopt the program by 2026. Sixteen schools adopted the program in 2021, and 15 to 20 other schools will be joining the initiative by the end of the year.

Car-free Sundays

With the goal of promoting active modes of transportation, the first Sunday of every month is declared a day without cars, or a car-free Sunday. So far, this is limited to the very city-center, but is planned to expand throughout the eight districts of the city.

All of these actions illustrate the city’s desire to rebalance the space dedicated to cars, bicycles and pedestrians, and to improve the coexistence between all public space users.

Watch the press conference where the action plan is presented, here.

Image by: Bordeaux Metropole

Image by: 20minutes

This project has received funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement no 769177.

The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the CIVITAS Handshake project and in no way reflects the views of the European Commission.