The city developed a remodeling scheme for seven different locations that will transform car-packed roads and intersections into areas that can be enjoyed by cyclistsand pedestrians. The project started with the Place de la République in 2013, when the authorities commissioned a redesign that created a pedestrian plaza planted with trees and lined with benches. The next location will be the Place de la Bastille in Paris, currently functioning as a traffic island with a huge memorial in the middle. The square will be reconnected to the curb on one side with a green space with benches and seating areas. The formal redesign of that square will start in 2017.
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Each design will aim to provide pedestrians at least 50% of the space in the square, eliminating lanes of traffic. A data-based approach will be used in some of the projects in order to provide specific information on how public space is used. Two companies – Cisco and Placemeter – will help with this part of the project. The latter will work with the city will test out different scenarios by predicting what would happen if streets are closed in certain locations for a month.
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“We’re providing for the first time to the city of Paris a dynamic tool to be able to experiment with streetscape redesign, or placemaking, in an agile way, and avoid spending tens of millions of euros in projects that haven’t been tested in real life before,” says Martin Lagache from Placemeter.
“Parisians are finding out that what were once admirable squares of theirs are now just intersections,” added Jean Macheras, the Paris delegate of the French Transportation Users Assocation.