When the right bank goes down into the street, the left bank also hurries people. We thus saw this Saturday afternoon, under the sun, the hypercentre make junction with the popular district of Saint-Gervais. Or? On the pavement of the most discussed and unifying platform of the moment: that, of course, of the Bergues.
People, yes, up to 400 people at the height of the rally, without cars and, frankly, against them. The Collective of inhabitants for mobility in Saint-Gervais, motivated thirties, young parents convinced that the future of all, in a “lively and livable” city, begins with the pedestrianization of this beautifully restored front which looks Harbor.
But not only. The nearby rue des Etuves, on other axes as well, should also adopt soft mobility at the level of the asphalt, and no longer have to “undergo the tense and Kafkaesque traffic which disfigures the city center of Geneva”.
The speakers of the day are first of all speakers. The end of the Machine deck serves as their platform. We hear them from afar, we applaud them from up close. Close ranks, explicit banners: we greet local writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, informing him that “The walkers are back”, that “Nature will beat cars” and that “Yes to tricycles, no to SUVs”.
4x4s are diverted to Cornavin station for the duration of the event. Two short hours of pedestrian simulation, of non-motorized locomotion, because, in fact, the platform is still on the “meeting zone” regime, a hybrid solution with proven danger. The announcement before Christmas, by the City and the Canton, of a fully pedestrian test is not yet effective.
For the time being, the protesters gathered have nothing to celebrate, but everything to claim. This is the reason for their noisy, festive and determined presence. “We think that the entire platform should be closed to cars,” insists a representative of the Collective, before adding: “The current parking spaces should not be on the platform. “They are there, however, and this Saturday they are even all busy.
Two minutes before 4 p.m., a policeman comes to announce to the officials of the authorized assembly that he is going to have to “reopen the platform to traffic”. Motorists are pawing around the Place de Chevelu. Transit traffic resumes its rights, making its way at low speed in the middle of hundreds of passers-by on foot. The aberration is obvious. It is not perceived in the same way by all.
Historic traders at the wharf have their designated spokespersons. “We are against this for pedestrians,” says the tailor for men who dressed James Bond. Her voice is not belligerent. He simply recalls that an “agreement was signed with the City for the maintenance of a meeting area, thus offering some of our customers the possibility of continuing to park in front of our signs. Depriving them of this possibility is extremely penalizing for us. ”
The argument is known. He is swept away this Saturday by a collective word which criticizes the selfishness of some, their narrow-mindedness and their displayed “old-fashionedness”. “These people are from another era,” said a protester today. Certainly, but their professional address gives on this same quay and they intend to continue to defend this privileged step.
Created: 11.01.2020, 6:19 p.m.