High-speed rail (HSR) experts agree that California has large enough cities spaced at appropriate distances from one another to make HSR viable. But some are concerned that the state’s cities lack two ingredients that make HSR a successful form of intercity transportation in Europe and Asia: (1) well-developed urban public transit networks to provide convenient local connections to the intercity train stations and; (2) dense activity centers within walking distance of future HSR station sites. In this presentation, Eric Eidlin will begin by discuss strategies for addressing these challenges, drawing on German and French examples that he encountered on a recent research trip to those countries, a trip that was funded through the German Marshall Fund’s Urban and Regional Policy Program. Michel Bonord, CEO of the Euralille redevelopment authority in Lille, France, will then speak in about the history of the Lille high-speed rail station and surrounding neighborhood. Since the introduction of HSR in 1994, Lille now sits at a strategic crossroads in the northern European HSR network between Paris, London, and Brussels. Lille is widely seen as one of the world’s most successful examples of HSR-oriented development.
Chief Executive Officer, SPL Euralille (Lille, France)
Michel Bonord is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SPL Euralille, a public company that works in collaboration with local communities and regional authorities to plan and redevelop Euralille, a district in central Lille that includes the city’s high-speed rail station. In this capacity, Michel leads a team of 20 architects, urban planners, lawyers and economists. Prior to joining SPL Euralille, Michel was Director of Cultural Heritage and Development for SIA, the primary affordable housing provider in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, where he was employed for 25 years. He began his career working for a number of architecture firms in Lille and Brussels.
Michel studied architecture and urban design at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et du Paysage de Lille (National French School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture of Lille) and received his architecture diploma in 1978. His passion for architecture and historic preservation led him found a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of the Church of Sainte Catherine, a 15th century landmark, an organization that he led as president. He was also vice-president of the non-profit organization Renaissance du Lille Ancien (Renaissance of Old Lille) for twelve years, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve the cultural and architectural integrity of Lille’s historic center.
In 2013, Michel was awarded a medal from the French National Order of Merit for his contributions to architecture, urbanism, and historic preservation.
Eric Eidlin, AICP
Community Planner, Federal Transit Administration (San Francisco)
Urban and Regional Policy Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Eric Eidlin is Community Planner and Sustainability Lead with the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Region 9 office in San Francisco. At FTA, Eric provides assistance on planning and environmental issues to several transit agencies throughout California. Eric is the primary point-of-contact in his office for a number of federal interagency initiatives, including the HUD/DOT/EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities and the White House’s Strong Cities Strong Communities Initiative (SC2). In these capacities, he has been involved in station area planning efforts in cities located along the future California HSR route. As an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., Eric traveled to France in Germany in 2013 and 2015 to study best practices in HSR station area planning and has presented his research nationally.
Prior to joining the FTA, Eric worked as an urban design consultant on transit-oriented development projects in the Bay Area and elsewhere in California. Eric holds a master’s degree in urban design from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1999-2000, Eric studied urban sociology at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, as a Fulbright Scholar.
In 2014, Eric was named one of the top 40 professionals under the age of 40 in the field of public transportation by Mass Transit Magazine.