As you know, our shop is located at 3, rue de Birague in the small street that connects Place des Vosges to Rue Saint Antoine. Our street is a one-way street. Until May 11th, it was “going down”, i.e. it used to go from the Place des Vosges to the Rue Saint Antoine and then all of a sudden, it was decided, without consulting the local residents, to reverse the direction of traffic.
That’s on paper, because in reality, our street has become a two-way street! There are those who respect the new direction of traffic and those who do not respect the newly installed sign directions. When they meet, it gives rise to crude verbal exchanges. The street finally comes alive. In these times of tourist lull, we take what we have!
We have alerted the municipality because we are facing a dangerous situation: it is a miracle that there has not yet been a serious accident. Our alerts have had no effect.
Let’s face the facts
It has now been almost 4 months since this silly like Ubu the King situation has been going on. And inevitably we ask ourselves questions.
Is it the presence of the UBU Gallery in the street that generates this situation?
No Paola, Pierre and Guillaume have nothing to do with it! They are just there to welcome you in their charming shop which is in full change. You will soon be able to see your jewelry being created before your eyes since part of the workshop for making the magnificent UBU jewelry will be set up directly in the shop.
Is this a badly conducted change management?
YES, YES, YES and we will try to analyze what is at the origin of this completely failed change. What is happening in our little street is a textbook case.
Change is generally accepted when it makes sense
a) The motivation for change must be real
When you want to change something, it has to be for the better. In this case, the change in the direction of traffic on Rue de Birague is only a consequence of another change: since May 11th, Rue Saint Antoine (extension of Rue de Rivoli to Place de la Bastille) has become a major bicycle path. Cars are personae non grata. This is the only reason why it was out of the question for the rue de Birague to dump its stream of vehicles onto an axis that had become forbidden.
Ouch, ouch, ouch, we’re already on a shitty plan …
b) Change requires flawless communication to gather everyone’s adhesion
There has been no information to local residents, no information fto stakeholders: the road cleaning services, the Post Office, the Municipal Police, the National Police, all continue to use the street in the wrong direction. When we tell them that they are driving in the wrong direction, they look at us as if we were crazy and invariably retort: “we did not get the information”.
Only the Fire Brigade and the Mounted Guard respect the new road signs
c) Don’t skimp on the costs associated with the change
Apart from the two new no-way signs on the arch of the King’s Pavilion on the Place des Vosges side, nothing has changed. No ground markings, no deactivation of the traffic light at the corner of Rue de Birague and Rue Saint Antoine.
In addition, the new no-way signs have already been vandalized twice… They were turned once, then covered with black paint a second time.
d) If you want to know if you change something successfully, do not forget to check
It’s too easy to just put up two new no-way signs and imagine that everyone is going to adopt the new rules. It doesn’t work like that. No one came in the street to see how it was going, no one came to make the local residents aware of the change. The risk at this stage is just that we move from a lax system to a repressive system where the fines are going to flow.
Our proposals to make this a successful change
Oh yes, it’s true, the French have this reputation of wanting to take part in all decisions, they always have their say and, in addition, in all cases, they grumble. But not only… they can also be forceful in making proposals!
Wouldn’t it make more sense to make the Rue de Birague pedestrian and planted with trees? Because in the end, the rue Saint Antoine being forbidden to traffic, who are the jerks who are going to go up the rue de Birague and then find themselves deported to the Boulevard Beaumarchais? It would certainly be the best solution while we’re at it, but if we have to continue with the current situation, it seems to us essential to:
- Warn Waze, Google Maps and others: at the time of writing this post, Google Maps always indicates the old direction of traffic.
- Hide the traffic light.
- Install a stop sign when you arrive on the Place des Vosges with a marking on the ground that will attract the attention of drivers who will hesitate (maybe?) before crossing a white line.
- Place a small document on the windscreens of local residents informing them of the change and warning them that from a set date, there will be no more tolerance (implied, they will be fined).
- Mobilize two traffic officers for 1 week to explain the change to the recalcitrant people.
A word to the wise, however.