Wazemmes meeting - Public transports
For our inaugural session of Utopia Lille 2026 we met in Wazemmes. We will begin to tour the other suburbs every other week so anyone interested to join can participate and help us with ideas for a future city of Lille.
We chose to discuss public transportation and transport in general and quickly agreed that most questions related to these challenges have to be adressed on metropolitain and regional level. We also agreed that the current pace of improving public transport infrastructure in Lille and the MEL is incredibly slow.
Pending traffic collapse
Lille is already today saturated in terms of traffic and peak pollution days are persisting. The doubling for the Metro has now been postponed to 2023 and the new tram lines will not be available until 2035 at the earlierst although we are not even digging any tunnels to install a tram.
If we look at specific issues, public transports between some intercommunalities remains as much a challenge as having difficulties crossing the frontier to Belgium with car or public transport and vice verca. In the Eurometropolis, it is not possible to go with public transport from Tournai or Kortrijk to have dinner in a restaurant and return home. The way of installing bike lanes also seems to stir conflicts with car drivers rather than creating solutions that permit fluid traffic throughout the city. Finally, the lack of parking spaces and commuters taking up residential parking around the highway and train stations increase the tension and saturation of the traffic sitation. Lille and the Metropole are missing a global plan and scheme how to manage traffic and reduce the dependency on cars in the immediate and forseeable future.
Room for improvement
All of the above need to be adressed rather sooner than later. We tried find forward-looking ideas and among the points we discussed, we will try to further develop the following points:
- Create highway car parks on top of highways. If we want to reduce the pressure and pollution on inner city car parkings, we need to create more car parking spaces. Why not above highways where there is space and public transport connection to the city center and train stations.
- Develop a traffic flow plan instead of traffic jams for the entire MEL region that optimises traffic flows. We need to build secure bike streets with residential car access instead of painting 350km of bike lanes to fullfil an objective no matter whether it creates conflicts with cars.
- Extent public transport beyond borders. Whether intercommunalities or the Belgium, we cannot stop at borders and force citizens to depend on their cars or get stuck on frontiers because of cargo traffic. There needs to be sufficient connections in evenings and nights to cater to the working, student and recreational traveller.
- Create a public "Uberbus" minibus network without fixed schedules with prepayment and scheduling to begin building a demand based public transport system. Students wanting to go to Lille and return late at night, school transport to connect remote homes, tourists wanting to return from a restaurant or concernt in Lille at midnight without requiring a car. There is a lot of potential for IT-based flexiblie public transport and if we want to reduce car dependency, we need to be more creative.
- Add a second level above Avenue Willy Brandt exclusively for the pick-up and drop-off of Lille Flandres passengers.