Clear the Road

Paris Mayor unveils plan for new citywide electric tramway and pedestrianized streets

International Transportation Urbanism
Paris Mayor unveils plan for new citywide electric tramway and pedestrianized streets. Seen here: Paris pollution five years ago. (Courtesy Alberto Hernández / Flickr)
Paris Mayor unveils plan for new citywide electric tramway and pedestrianized streets. Seen here: Paris pollution five years ago. (Courtesy Alberto Hernández / Flickr)

Over the past few months, Paris Mayor Anne Hildago has rolled out her plans to reduce the number of private cars in the French capital by half. The most recent announcement is a new electric tramway that will open September 2018 and will run alongside the upper highways along the Seine in both directions. Dubbed the Olympic Tramway in alignment with Paris’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, it is the latest in a series of attempts to improve the city’s air quality. In the past year, periodic road closures and car bans caused controversy after the city’s pollution reached potentially harmful levels.

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The electric tramway will be accompanied by additional bike lanes and infrastructure geared toward pedestrians. According to The Guardian, there are major pedestrianization plans under way: Traffic will be restricted on the upper highway on the Seine’s right bank and the Rue de Rivoli, while a one kilometer river-adjacent stretch of the Place de la Concorde and Pont Royal will be fully closed to vehicles.

And, as The Architect’s Newspaper reported in November, several firms such as Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Kengo Kuma Associates have been tapped to work on this increased network of public spaces in the French capital. BIG designed the new Pont de Bondy station northwest of Paris—one of 68 new stations that will form the Grand Paris Express—and Kengo Kuma Associates created the Gare Saint-Denis Pleyel station north of the city. Combined, Hildago hopes these efforts can create a significant change for future generations.

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