• France edition
 
VIDEO: Paris mulls plan to turn busy avenue into park
Paris may turn one its busiest streets into a park. Photo: Nick Bramhall/Flickr

VIDEO: Paris mulls plan to turn busy avenue into park

Published: 21 Jan 2014 08:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Jan 2014 08:50 GMT+01:00

Outgoing Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë has long been battling against the dominance of cars in the city and it appears he opened a new front on Sunday when a newspaper published a report that the Town Hall wants to convert Avenue Foch, one the capital’s busiest streets, in the posh 16th arrondissement, into a huge public space.

Avenue Foch links the famous Arc de Triomphe to the western edge of Paris at Porte Dauphine and is perhaps best known for being home to the finish line for the annual Paris marathon.

Perhaps surprisingly the plan has not been condemned by a national motorist watchdog group. 

(The video below is courtesy of Parisian News TV)

Head of 40 Millions d’Automobilistes Pierre Chasseray said the idea of a green space is a good one, but the planning of the project must be done in consultation with stake holders like avenue residents and shopkeepers.

“A green space is not unappealing, it can be rather good. But we are going to have to keep a place for cars as well,” he told The Local. “We have to remember that a motorist is a pedestrian who hasn’t parked yet.”

The avenue already has large bands of trees and grass and pedestrian-friendly pavements, however, the road itself is a “motorway inside Paris”, French daily Le Monde reported. The bands of greenery serve as de facto parks where people stroll and even sunbathe when the weather’s right.

According to the outline of the proposal, revealed in newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, the 1.3 km stretch of avenue that serves as an entry point into the city would be closed to cars. However, traffic would still be able to pass along the narrow feeder streets that run parallel to the main avenue.

The resulting space would be home to two massive projects. 

On the end of the road that leads up to the Arc de Triomphe officials imagine a massive public square, new housing and business. While at the other end, which leads to the city’s border and the Bois de Boulogne park, the plans call for a green space with trees.

On a par with closing off a stretch of Park Avenue in Manhattan, the plan for Avenue Foch has become a divisive topic in the Paris mayoral race, with elections just under two months away. Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo has given her full support, while candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s UMP party called the project “completely harebrained”.

Hidalgo said in a statement she is “ready to carefully study this ambitious idea that would energize west Parisian neighbourhoods by building affordable housing for the middle class, all while creating an exceptional public space".

Conservative UMP candidate Kosciusko-Morizet released a much less glowing statement on the idea. Her spokeswoman Valérie Montandon criticized Hidalgo for wanting to “degrade that which already exists rather than rising to the urban planning challenge of working with neglected space.”

The project is decidedly an "if" at present, with no official approvals and not even a budget that has been made public. It’s worth noting, however, the avenue belongs to the city of Paris, so there would be no cost to acquire the land beneath it.

The plan would just be the latest move in current mayor Delanoë's longstanding campaign to improve the lives of pedestrians at the expense of motorists.

In a controversial move last year the city banned car traffic along a 2.3 km stretch of the Left Bank from the Musée d'Orsay to the Pont de l'Alma.

Walkers and cyclists now have the road to themselves, though critics accused outgoing Delanoë of simply pushing more traffic on to fewer roads.

To see more from ParisianTV News CLICK HERE or follow them on Twitter.

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paying ransoms
France 'world’s top payer' of ransoms for hostages
Did France pay a ransom to free four hostages who spent three years in captivity. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

France 'world’s top payer' of ransoms for hostages

France has paid out $58 million to free hostages since 2008, putting it top of the world rankings for ransom payments, according to a media report. Although the French government has angrily denied the claims, critics says the policy is creating a lucrative hostage industry. READ  

Tired French burglar falls asleep during break-in
A sleeping French burglar woke up to the police. Photo: Quinn.anya/Flickr

Tired French burglar falls asleep during break-in

A suspected burglar took a nap while robbing a house in France this week and when he woke up the police were waiting for him. It’s just the latest case of criminals choosing an inopportune time to nod off. READ  

Nudity on the beaches of France: Dos and don'ts
Here's what you need to know about getting naked on French beaches. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Nudity on the beaches of France: Dos and don'ts

France is world famous for its topless and nudist beaches, even if French ladies are increasingly keeping their swim suits on. Here’s what you need to know about dropping your top (or bottoms) on French beaches. READ  

Peeing man drowns after being pushed into Seine
Police are looking for whoever pushed a man from behind into the River Seine, leading to him drowning. Photo: Dany13/Flickr

Peeing man drowns after being pushed into Seine

A man drowned in the River Seine early on Wednesday in Paris after he was pushed into the water from behind while he was peeing, French media reported. Police aren’t sure if it was a prank gone wrong or a violent reprisal. READ  

France pulls French and British out of Libya
Libyan security services and civilians gather across the street after a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya on April 23rd, 2013. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

France pulls French and British out of Libya

The French government announced on Wednesday that it had pulled around 50 French and British nationals out of Libya. Paris's decision to evacuate its nationals comes amid a rise in violence in the strife-torn North African country. READ  

'Museum shooter' faces terrorism murder charge
Terror-related murder charges have been filed against a Frenchman for the Belgian museum killings. Photo: AFP

'Museum shooter' faces terrorism murder charge

Prosecutors have charged a Frenchman with "murder in a terrorist context" for the attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium that left four people dead. The suspect spent a year fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria before returning to Europe. READ  

French sites pillaged by wannabe archaeologist
A Frenchman is in a big trouble for using his metal detector to 'pillage' archaeological sites. Photo: Jesshg/Flickr

French sites pillaged by wannabe archaeologist

A wannabe archaeologist is on trial in France accused of looting some of the country’s best historical sites after being caught with thousands of ancient artifacts. Experts say France is facing an epidemic of archaeological pillaging. READ  

French celebrate freedom from hungry tax man
French workers are now free from the tax man until the end of the year, according to an economic study. Photo: AFP

French celebrate freedom from hungry tax man

French workers can now celebrate being free from the burden of the tax man because for the rest of the year, they won’t pay another cent in taxes, an economic study claims. The Belgians however still have a bit of work to do. READ  

Gaza crisis
Jewish groups call for Pro-Israel march in Paris
Up to 6,000 pro-Israel protesters march through Marseille. Paris will see its own pro-Israel march take place on Thursday. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP.

Jewish groups call for Pro-Israel march in Paris

France’s main Jewish organisation has appealed to all the “friends of Israel” to turn out for a rally outside the Israeli embassy in Paris on Thursday. It comes as Muslim groups call for a right-wing Jewish militant organisation to be banned in France. READ  

Air France strike set to hit holidaymakers
Travellers set for disruption after Air France staff called a strike for Saturday. Photo:Shutterstock

Air France strike set to hit holidaymakers

Air France flights to and from France are set to be severely disrupted on Saturday after several unions called on workers to go on strike. The industrial action could cause misery for many holidaymakers. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Why are the days of going topless in France coming to an end?
Travel
Reckless or adventurous? US dad takes his two children up Mont Blanc
National
From manure to money: Ten bizarre facts about the French Parliament
Culture
Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens
International
Is France really Europe's biggest public spenders?
National
Could your job in France soon be done by a robot?
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se