Rebecca Bernard
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Paris Moves Cars Away from the Seine

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L’Académie française

L’Académie française on the banks of the Seine in Paris

If you ever visit Paris, I hope that you have the opportunity to take a stroll along the River Seine. Many of the city’s main monuments are along the river, and bouquinistes fold out their stands every day from sunrise to sunset, selling used and antique books, magazines, and art prints. The river also divides the city into distinct banks that have their own great personalities. Paris was founded where it is because of the Seine, and life continues to thrive along the waterway.

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While some portions of the river are scenic, others are inaccessible to pedestrians due to fast motorways that run along its banks. That’s about to change, though, thanks to a new plan just approved by Paris’ city council as part of the “Paris Breathes” program. Spearheaded by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the plan calls for about two miles of roadway to permanently close, running from the Tuileries Gardens to the Henri IV tunnel. The streets will then be turned into parks, with grass and a bike lane that will also allow emergency vehicles access, if necessary.

Supporters of the action point to the UNESCO World Heritage Site status of the banks of the Seine as a great reason to make them more accessible to pedestrians and tourists. According to Curbed, pollution is also a huge problem in Paris, so limiting roadways could be seen as a step towards cutting vehicle emissions, especially in partnership with the monthly car bans on the Champs-Élysées and plans for a new bike highway. Paris has a pretty famous public transportation system, so it’s not as if there are no alternatives to this roadway.

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Many motorists are not happy, and neither is the political right, but polls conducted suggest that over half of Paris residents approve of the plan. We hope they enjoy their new green space near such a scenic (and historic) river.

News Source: Curbed