Mayor Bertrand Delanoe of Paris is looking forward to implement changes on the right bank of the River Seine by slowing down the traffic transforming it into a ‘pretty urban boulevard while shutting down the busy 1.2 mile section of the expressway on the left bank by 2012.’
If approved by the city council in July, the $50 million project would give way to a 35 acre of development on the riverside for cafes, sports facilities and floating islands. The closure of the left bank of the expressway will cover the span between the Musee d ‘Orsay and Alma bridge.
Many parts of Paris are closed to vehicular traffic, as is also with sections of the expressway along the Seine every Sunday in line with the ‘Paris Respire’ or ‘Paris Breathes’ program. As Delanoe declared: “It’s about reducing pollution and automobile traffic and giving Parisians more opportunities for happiness.”
Nevertheless, the new policies reduced the daily car trips by 450,000 between 2001 and 2008 in Paris.
Simon Norton, a forum contributor on the WorldStreets website, reacted to the news from Paris by recommending the same plan for London connecting Victoria and Kings Cross.
Norton said: “The road which separates St James’ Park from Green Park is, like the Paris route, closed on Sundays, it should be closed all the time, as it is perhaps the worst of the routes from the point of view of hampering pedestrian movements and causing intrusive noise.”
Norton further added, “This route would provide a fast connection between Victoria and Charing Cross. A route through Hyde Park would link Paddington with South Kensington. A route through Regents Park would take people from norh-west London straight to Oxford Circus.”