The Council of Paris validates the pedestrianisation of right bank of river Seine

The city of Paris is pursuing the goals to transform the French capital into a more walkable, bikeable and people-oriented city. In a quite contested vote that took place on 26 September 2016, Paris city council approved the banning of all vehicles from the major road on the right bank of the river Senne.

Paris river's quayside project

© Libération

Car-free day on 'Les Berges de la Senne' 2016

© Paris City Council

The city council's decision aims at shutting to traffic 3.3km of the riverside road, and to remove about 43,000 cars that every day pass along this road. The project consists of replacing this river side of the Senne – already well known for the annual ‘Paris plage’ (‘Paris beach’) event - with gardens, parks, restaurants and cafes. The decision still needs to be approved by the Police in order to be fully implemented. There will be a committee which will monitor every year on the impact on traffic, congestion and air pollution in the neighboring areas.  

Pierre Chasseray from the association ‘40 Millions Motorists’ stated that the pedestrianisation of the right bank of Paris’s river Seine would only worsen the traffic congestion. In a 2015 press release issued in response to the mayor’s plans, the organisation said that the left bank closure had already shown how pedestrianising meant more time spent in cars for each Parisian (between 41% and 53% more according to the report).  

Mayor Hidalgo highlights that pedestranisations are long processes that focus on influencing citizens’ attitudes in order to change behavior: ‘something almost philosophical, which involves envisaging the city in an alternative way than through the use of cars’, The Guardian reported

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