One of the least romantic things about the City of Love, surely, is the constant hum of traffic. Thankfully, post-lockdown Paris may well feel a little less hectic: the French capital is to ban cars from the iconic Rue de Rivoli, which stretches from the Louvre museum right across the city centre.
Anne Hidalgo, Paris’s mayor, said the ban would allow locals more space to exercise within the city centre as social-distancing measures continue. The initiative will last through the summer, and could be made permanent after that. Hidalgo told a press conference: ‘I would like there to be a lane dedicated exclusively to bikes and another reserved only for buses, taxis and emergency and trade vehicles – but not cars.’
Equivalent to London’s Oxford Street or New York’s Fifth Avenue, the 3km-long Rue de Rivoli is home to sights including the Tuileries gardens, the Louvre and the Angelina tearooms, and is also one of the city centre’s main shopping strips. From May 11, when France is set to ease lockdown restrictions, Paris is also planning to accelerate its ‘Plan Vélo’ – ‘Cycle Plan’ – and lay down 65km of new bike lanes across the city.
The French capital isn’t the only European city putting pedestrians and cyclists first as lockdown measures are lifted. Berlin has already widened cycle lanes in an effort to maintain physical distancing outdoors, while Milan’s council has announced ambitious ‘Strade Aperte’ plans to install new bike lanes, introduce 30kph (20mph) speed limits, and create cyclist and pedestrian ‘priority streets’ across the centre.
London, meanwhile, is widening high-street pavements and creating new cycling and walking routes along main roads in an effort to reduce crowding on public transport. We can’t wait to see what other cities have in store for our post-lockdown streets.
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