Move to oust cars from major Parisian route

Would a similar plan work in London?

Plans are afoot to close a busy 1.2-mile section of motor expressway on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris and turn it over to walkers and cyclists.

There are also proposals to slow traffic on the right bank, with the aim of making it a ‘pretty urban boulevard’. Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë aims to make the changes by 2012.

The $50 million project to close the left bank expressway between the Musée d'Orsay and the Alma bridge would open up 35 acres of riverside for development, with plans for cafes, sports facilities and floating islands – if ratified by the city authorities in July.

Currently, sections of expressway along the Seine, as well as in several other areas of Paris, are closed to motor traffic every Sunday in a programme known as ‘Paris Respire’ – or 'Paris Breathes'. Delanoë said: "It's about reducing pollution and automobile traffic, and giving Parisians more opportunities for happiness."

More than 30,000 cars pass down the left bank expressway every day. Due to recent policies such as lowering speed limits and replacing thousands of parking spaces with wider pavements and bike and bus lanes, daily car trips in Paris were reduced by 450,000 between 2001 and 2008.

Cyclists could soon enjoy more traffic-free riding beside the River Seine in Paris

One forum contributor on the Worldstreets website, Simon Norton, responded to the the news from Paris by suggesting a similar scheme for London, linking Victoria and Kings Cross.

"The road which separates St James' Park from GreenPark is, like the Paris route, closed on Sundays," he said. "It should be closed all the time, as it is perhaps the worst of the routes from the point of view of hampering pedestrian movements and causing intrusive noise.

"This route would provide a fast connection between Victoria and Charing Cross. A route through Hyde Park would link Paddington with South Kensington. A route through RegentsPark would take people from north-west London straight to Oxford Circus."

What do you think of this idea for traffic-free streets linking London’s main parks? Have your say in the comments box below.

Should parts of London be made traffic-free, like this stretch of road near Green Park?

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