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Paris Pedestrianized: city projects aim to make the capital more pedestrian and bike-friendly than ever
It’s no longer a surprise to anyone: the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and her team have made the reduction of cars in the capital a major priority during her term. Among the many city projects aiming to make the city more accessible to pedestrians and bikes, the renovation of seven of Paris’s most emblematic squares, including Bastille and Nation, will have a major impact on traffic. The creation of bike lanes on some of Paris’s main avenues, such as the Champs Elysées, will also affect circulation.
Of the 7 squares that have been or will be renovated, pedestrians will gain “50% more space”. And from now until 2020, Paris will benefit from “more than 1,000 km of bikeable track, which is close to 50% more than at the beginning of Hidalgo’s term.”
“Paris is a city in movement, a city that evolves with the times. The Paris of the 21st century won’t be like the Paris of the 20th century, shaped by the automobile.” declares Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor of Transportation. “This will no longer be the Paris of the 1970s or 1980s and that’s a good thing.”
According to City Hall, new city projects are part of a trend at work, with a reduction of automobile circulation that’s already been noticeable within the périphérique: – 4.5% in 2017 and – 5% to – 6% in the first trimester of 2018. “Parisians are using their cars less,” notes Najdovski.
Let’s zoom in on some of these groundbreaking city projects currently under construction.
Place de la Bastille: more space for pedestrians
Construction on this emblematic square in eastern Paris will begin this September. This is the most ambitious renovation project among the seven large squares that will be redone. The objective: create a large pedestrian space, named “la Presqu’ile” (“the Peninsula”) that will take up the entire zone between the canal and the Colonne de Juillet.
Automobile circulation will be reduced by 40% and drivers will have to get used to new traffic patterns. Pedestrians will be able to fully take advantage of the improved square at the beginning of next year.
Champs-Elysées: new bike lanes
Although it has sparked some debate, bike lanes will be installed on either side of the Champs-Elysées between Concorde and place de l’Étoile, much to the delight of cyclists.
Over its 2 km, particular attention was given to the choice and color of material in order to respect this site (in its lower section) classified as a historic monument.
Preparatory work started at the beginning of June 2018, with heavy construction that started in October 2018. The bike lanes will be open by December of this year.
Boulevard Voltaire: bike lanes from République to Nation
After two years of construction, we will finally be able to bike directly from République to Nation starting this fall. Two, 3-km long bike lanes on each side of boulevard Voltaire have been installed, connecting the two squares in both directions. For vehicles, one single car lane remains in each direction, with two lanes as you approach la place Léon-Blum and place de la République.