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Paris to hand Champs-Élysées to pedestrians

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Parisians enjoy a car-free Champs-Élysées from September's "Day Without Cars". Photo: AFP
14:54 CET+01:00
The famed Champs-Élysées avenue will be pedestrianized once a month from spring this year, the mayor of Paris announced on Wednesday in a slew of new measures to keep the city green.
The Champs-Élysées in the west of Paris is among the most famous streets in the world - and it's about to be handed over to pedestrians.
 
Yes indeed, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Wednesday that cars would be completely banned from the avenue on one day each month, "beginning in spring".
 
Further details remain unknown, but it's no surprise that Hidalgo was behind the project - she has been an outspoken advocate for a cleaner Paris. 
 
In September last year, she was behind the "Car-Free Day" across parts of Paris, a plan she said would be extended to the entire city in September this year. 
 
At the time, all traffic except taxis and emergency vehicles was banned in four central arrondissements, or districts, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.
 
The association Bruitparis said measurements showed a three decibel drop in noise levels compared to your average Sunday, which reflects a drop by half from the usual din. Preliminary statistics showed an 8 percent hike in bicycle usage across the city too. 
 
Hidalgo also promised that half of the city's parks would extend their opening hours, and would be available to the public 24/7 from mid-April to mid-September.
 

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She added that the plan to pedestrianize the right bank of the River Seine was in full steam, a project that is expected to come into fruition by the end of summer.  
 
Hidalgo has said in the past that handing the Right Bank to pedestrians would "profoundly change the face and image" of Paris. 
 
Paris to hand Right Bank to pedestrians in 2016

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