Ah, Paris: the Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomphe, and the appalling traffic jams all throughout the city. However, if Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has anything to say about it, car traffic will soon be limited from at least one of the cit’s major attractions. Following a battle with Nicolas Sarkozy’s recently ousted right-wing government, the mayor has announced plans to ‘reclaim’ the Seine’s riverside expressways from car traffic.
The banks of the Seine, which are recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, have been a slave to the city’s traffic since Georges Pompidou opened them in 1967 under the slogan “Paris must adapt to the car.” Since then, continuous two-lane motorways have all but severed Paris from the banks of the Seine.
However mayor Delanoë is looking to reverse Paris’ former auto-centric planning mentality by increasing the number of bicycle and bus lanes in the city as well as implementing bike- and electric car-share schemes. He has also increased the pedestrianization of the Seine, which began back in 2002 with stretches of riverbank being turned into sand-covered beaches.
The new proposal is set to start next month, with a stretch of road on the Right Bank starting at the Hôtel de Ville and running eastward to be narrowed. Additional speed-controlling traffic lights and pedestrian crossings will also be installed. Future plans, which are to be implemented next spring, will see a one-and-a-half-mile stretch of the Left Bank between the Musée d’Orsay and the Pont de l’Alma, converted into an 11-acre park with volleyball courts, sundecks, and floating gardens.
While these sound like major works, it’s expected these modifications will add only six minutes to the average commute while restoring access to the riverfront to Parisians and tourists alike.
via A/N Blog
Images: APUR/J.C. Choblet