• France's news in English
 

VIDEO: Paris mulls plan to turn busy avenue into park

Published: 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France hunts men behind 1982 Jewish diner attack
The scene after the bombing at the Chez Jo Godenberg restaurant in 1982 that left six people dead. Photo: AFP

France hunts men behind 1982 Jewish diner attack

France has issued international arrest warrants for three men suspected of involvement in a deadly attack on a Jewish restaurant in Paris in 1982, a judicial source told AFP on Wednesday. READ  

France 'violates treaty on smacking children'
France is in violation of a treaty because it doesn't fully ban smacking. Photo: Shutterstock

France 'violates treaty on smacking children'

A top European human rights watchdog gave France a stern telling off on Wednesday ruling that the country was in violation of a European treaty because it did not fully ban the smacking of children. READ  

More drones give Paris police the run around
Drones have been spotted over Paris several times in the last two weeks. Photo: David Rodriguez Martin/Flickr

More drones give Paris police the run around

As many as ten drones were seen flying over Paris on Tuesday, with police chasing one through the streets of the capital before being given the slip by the unmanned aircraft. It’s just the latest in a series of baffling overflights. READ  

Ukraine crisis
France demands reaction if Ukraine truce violated
President François Hollande eyes up Russian leader Vladimir Putin after talks in Minsk earlier this month. Photo: AFP

France demands reaction if Ukraine truce violated

France and other western countries are calling for a "strong reaction" from the international community if a major violation of a truce in Ukraine occurs, the French presidency said after video conference talks. READ  

Hollande plans historic visit to communist Cuba
President François Hollande has done a fair amount of travelling in his time as head of state, including a trip to Kazakhstan. Photo: AFP/press office

Hollande plans historic visit to communist Cuba

President François Hollande will make the first ever visit by a French head of state to Cuba in May in the latest sign of a thaw between the isolated communist nation and Europe and the United States. READ  

UK earns €1 billion from selling Eurostar stake
Britain has sold its stake in Eurostar for a cool €1billion. But the French are not the buyers. Photo: Andrew Cowie/AFP

UK earns €1 billion from selling Eurostar stake

The British government will be happily counting the cash on Wednesday after it reached an agreement to sell its entire Eurostar stake for a much higher price than initially expected. The deal will bring in a cool €1 billion for state coffers. READ  

French job agency offers vacancies for porn stars
Did French porn star Jade Laroche, seen posing here at Cannes find a job through the Pôle Emploi? Photo: AFP

French job agency offers vacancies for porn stars

Who says there are no jobs in France? France's national employment agency Pôle Emploi has been ridiculed after publishing a job advert from a company looking for male and female porn actors, who've "dreamed about becoming stars". Beginners are welcome to apply. READ  

French union announces plans for new rail strike
A worker at state-run rail operator SNCF lights a flare in the 2014 strikes. Photo: AFP

French union announces plans for new rail strike

A French union has announced plans to hold a one-day rail strike next week in a protest of the same issues that resulted in last year's 12-day strike, which crippled France's transport system. READ  

Frenchmen top the tables in new 'manhood' study
French men came first in the new study. Photo: Shutterstock

Frenchmen top the tables in new 'manhood' study

Frenchmen had more reason than normal to feel proud on Tuesday thanks to a new study, which found their manhoods were lengthier than those of every other nationality in the survey. But do our Gallic friends really have reason to gloat? READ  

Opinion: Commuter misery
'Paris rail network is not fit for the 21st century'
Disgruntled commuters are aiming to take Paris transport chiefs to court for the delays and disruption they face on the RER. Photo: AFP

'Paris rail network is not fit for the 21st century'

A group of disgruntled commuters are launching an unprecedented bid to sue Paris transport chiefs because they can never get to work on time. The Parisian banker leading the charge tells The Local why things have to change. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Latest job vacancies in France: Porn stars - 'Beginners welcome'
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in France
Society
Who are these two children found by a homeless man in France?
National
From planes to 1,000 cows - France's most controversial building projects
National
Time to move home? Pyrenees hamlet cut off after massive mudslide
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
Over 200 skeletons found in mass grave under Paris supermarket
Culture
Madonna has compared France and Europe to Nazi Germany
Culture
Are you also unimpressed by your French boss?
National
UK councillor blasted for 250km French commute
National
Say it with Nutella: Except the words 'lesbian', 'Muslim' and many more
Culture
Looking for something different to do in France in March? Here's 10 ideas
National
How can France enforce a no-drone zone over Paris?
Gallery
Here's how to be cool in Paris, according to Parisians
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best one to work in?
National
Why do so many women in France smoke throughout their pregnancy?
National
VIDEO: Banned but beautiful - Paris seen through the eyes of a drone
National
Would you want this Frenchman to squeal at YOUR wedding?
National
'We're back' - Charlie Hebdo magazine returns with a bite
Society
Handsome men on the Paris Metro are unknowingly going viral
Society
What are the little things that make France so different?
National
Should we be worried about drones being flown over Paris?
Travel
Another deadly avalanche in the French Alps
National
Text offences: Why French workers need to watch out in future
Gallery
Mont-Saint-Michel cut off as 'supertide' season opens in France
Gallery
Ten great moments for France throughout Oscar history
Culture
Anglo-French marriage problems begin long before anyone says 'Oui'
Travel
'The stars are aligned': Why now is the time to buy a house in France
National
IN PICTURES: 'Supertide' brings crowds to the French coast
Gallery
French property Face-off: Two luxury chalets in the French Alps
Travel
French coastal towns are braced for the 'tide of the century'
Politics
Socialist rebel MPs are angry but not ready to topple French government
Society
France to welcome another US fast food giant
Culture
Les Entrepreneurs: How to watch Paris theatre shows in English
Culture
So where are all these swinging sex clubs in Paris?
Sport
VIDEO: 'We're racist' - Chelsea fans push black man off Paris Metro
Culture
Sex clubs touted as latest fashion in Paris
Culture
In pictures: The ever-colourful Dunkirk carnival
National
Do you worry about your French accent? Perhaps you have no need to
National
VIDEO: 'Fear and loathing' - Being a Jew in Paris
National
Why the DSK trial could spell bad news for French prostitutes
Society
The sorry recent history of anti-Semitic attacks in France
National
'Je suis Danois' - Paris shows solidarity with Copenhagen
Culture
Obituary: Louis Jourdan - The actor who embodied French elegance
National
France outraged after hundreds of Jewish tombs vandalised
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
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