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PARIS

How Paris plans to transform the polluted périphérique into a ‘green belt’

Paris' Mayor Anne Hidalgo says she wants to transform the city’s congested, polluted péripherique ring road into a "green belt" around the capital city. Here’s how she plans to do it.

How Paris plans to transform the polluted périphérique into a 'green belt'
A sign over Paris' Peripherique ring road warns about air pollution (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

Paris’ 35km-long périphérique (French for ring-road, or beltway) is notorious for its high levels of pollution and terrible traffic jams.

Currently, over 1.1 million trips take place along the ring road each day, which puts those living near the road at risk of toxic air pollution. 

But that might all change if Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s plan, which she announced May 18th, is successful. These are the steps for the green future of the périphérique.

An ‘Olympic Lane’

In 2024, when Paris hosts the summer Olympics, the mayor plans to create an “Olympic lane,” which would only be used for buses, taxis and carpooling for participants of the Olympics. According to the mayor’s deputy, David Belliard, this would eliminate about 80,000 vehicles from traffic. By 2030, their goal is to get rid of one lane altogether (normally the road has four lanes going in each direction). 

Increasing vegetation

The mayor plans to make the road, which exposes its neighbours to poor air quality, more green by planting a total of 70,000 trees on the embankments, the ramps, the central median, and even eventually the lane that is set to be removed.

She also aims for more green spaces at points along either side of the road with some 10 hectares of vegetation to be planted in total.

“Revegetation is an extraordinary and fabulous lever for transforming this entire territory,” said Hidalgo.

Also planned before 2024 is the upgrade of the entrance and exit points at the Portes de Clichy, La Chapelle, Brancion, Dauphine and Maillot.

READ ALSO: Why this road is simply the worst in France (and possibly the world)

How will they do it?

It will not be an easy task to accomplish – Mayor Hidalgo has already faced backlash for other efforts to reduce car usage in the capital. In her announcement, Hidalgo said she plans to “listen” to motorists, truck drivers, and shopkeepers before beginning the changes. She is betting that the long timeframe of the project will give people time “to adapt.” 

Thus far, however, only the “Olympic” lane has been approved by Paris’ police prefecture, and Valérie Pécresse, the centre-right president of the Île-de-France region has expressed disapproval for the plan and announced that a poll she organised showed that 90% of voters opposed the “removal” of a lane on the ring road.

Ultimately, the goal of the project is to create a more “harmonious and pleasant living environment” for those who live near the ring road. In Paris, car traffic is responsible for more than half of the nitrogen oxide emissions, so decreasing pollution levels is of utmost importance. But it is not just air pollution that Mayor Hidalgo hopes to reduce – noise pollution is also an issue that affects the 144,000 people living in the immediate area. 

“The grey belt will be transformed into a green belt,” said Hidalgo.

Member comments

  1. “According to the mayor’s deputy, David Belliard, this would eliminate about 80,000 vehicles from traffic. ”

    And where will they be eliminated to, we wonder ? Into thin air ?

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PARIS

Huge fire destroys warehouse at giant Paris market

A major blaze swept through part of one of the world's biggest fresh produce markets on the outskirts of Paris on Sunday. 

Huge fire destroys warehouse at giant Paris market

 The fire destroyed a fruit and vegetable warehouse at the Rungis complex to the south of the French capital.

Flames spread shortly after noon, the authorities said, sending a dark plume of smoke billowing over the southern suburbs.

A hundred firefighters brought the fire under control by mid-afternoon and there were no injuries, the fire brigade said.

The warehouse, about the size of a football pitch, belonged to Les Halles Mandar group.

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a building at the “Rungis International Market” wholesale food market in Rungis, south of Paris. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

“It’s a shock, but we’re glad there were no injuries”, boss Shaoul Abramczyk said.

“We will not be able to fulfil our partners’ orders from Monday and for several days”, he added.

“When a market operator is the victim of a tragedy of this nature, the whole market is struck at its heart”, Rungis market head Stephane Layani said.
 

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