The forgotten streets and the role of the Metropolis?

The forgotten streets and the role of the Metropolis?

Jun 5, 2022, 12:04:14 PM UTC
Street improvements by the MEL seem to be done inconsistently while citizens' requests remain unanswered for years

> Street improvements seem to be made only on an ad hoc basis and without consistency across the MEL.
> Citizens' requests remain unanswered for years, which does not give a good image of our democratic institutions.
> Volt proposes a review of the competences of the Metropole and a democratic election of its president.

Lille, June 5th, 2022

Velo réseau express plan, zone 30 plan, there is no shortage of plans to transform our neighbourhoods throughout the metropolis in the years to come. However, when you look at the reality on the ground, it is easy to find "forgotten" streets, such as rue Laplace in Saint-Maurice Pellevoisin.

A reduced speed zone without any indication?

Since 2017, residents have been asking the town hall and the MEL to make the pavements safer and to install adequate signage, cycle lanes, speed reduction and a zebra crossing, but 5 years later, the street is still not safe, while the neighbouring streets have been upgraded. Of course, a new car park has been built and the children's playground has been renovated, but these are one-off interventions, puzzle pieces instead of a complete improvement. The children's playground has been built, but children have to walk in the street and around parked cars to get to it? The car park has been renovated so that there are fewer cars on the pavements, but the street remains without speed limits and with two-way traffic. A safe situation for residents?

Volt Lille - Plan de Lille à 30km/h de 2019
Rue Laplace, a 30km/h speed limit but only online

This is not a planning issue. If we look at the plan for the 30 km/h zones in 2019, Laplace Street is also on the map.

According to the law :

-30 km/h zone: section or group of sections of roads constituting a zone reserved for the traffic of all users. In this zone, the speed of vehicles is limited to 30 km/h. All roads are two-way for cyclists, unless the police authority makes different arrangements. The entrances and exits of this zone are announced by signs and the whole zone is laid out in a manner consistent with the applicable speed limit

Three years later, there is no attempt to signal the speed limit in a consistent manner. Some streets are completely renovated, while others are left forgotten. We wonder why there is no integrated planning to improve neighbourhoods ? What is the logic of intervening on only one side of the street? It is also strange that such seemingly simple interventions take years and that the demands of the inhabitants are not followed up. What does it say about the reputation of the city and its representatives, and our democracy, when the requests of citizens active in their neighbourhood go unanswered for so long?

The MEL: all the power and none of the responsibility?

The local council will point out that roadworks are the responsibility of the Metropolis and that the municipality can only send the police to deal with traffic violations, such as illegal parking. Obviously, this is not a solution. On the other hand, it does not seem to be a good solution either to leave these types of competences to the Metropolis. Being in charge of a territory of more than 1.2 million inhabitants, it is easy to understand that one can neither demand nor expect that improvement projects, signposting and construction - interventions such as the one on Rue Laplace - be undertaken within a reasonable timeframe. If this type of intervention is too specific, would it not be better to return the competence and the budget to the municipalities and only ensure coherence on the territory by the Metropolis?

This subject also leads to a general question of the democratic legitimacy of the EPCIs (Établissement public de coopération intercommunale) and their extended competences. Remember that a certain number of elected municipal representatives also serve on the metropolitan council and that it is these councils that vote for the president of the metropolis. Like the predictability of road works, there seems to be little transparency in the way this vote is conducted. Aware of the power we are entrusting to the presidents and considering the budget of the Metropolis of almost two billion euros per year - as much as the budget of all the communes, we ask ourselves why we elect our president and mayors, assemblies at national, regional and departmental level, but not the presidency of the MEL? EPCIs have such extensive competences in everyday life that it seems strange that they remain at best a democratic grey area and at worst a black hole for transparency and accountability.

This may be one reason why Laplace Street has not been improved for over 5 years.

Volt Lille - Rue Laplace
Why only one-off interventions instead of a coherent street improvement?

Our proposals

Democratic reforms are one of our priorities for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

For our candidate Claire Desbois, who is running in the 4th constituency of the North, but also for our team Volt Lille in general, a revision of the competences of EPCIs and intercommunalities (including their democratic election) are important steps towards more democratic and responsible institutions. We are in favour of a realignment of competences based on the principles of subsidiarity, which could mean, for example, that the communes would be responsible for the management of their roads, signposting and safety, while the Metropolis would continue to coordinate and link the different communities.

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