Paris Will Transform Car Parking into Parks!

The city is removing 60,000 parking spots.

Nov 18, 2020

(Production Perig / Shutterstock.com)

Paris has affectionately been called “The City of Lights” and the “City of Love.” Soon, it may be known as a green, clean city. Thanks to the effort of the Paris’s mayor Anne Hidalgo, the city will be removing half of its street parking, replacing concrete with gardens.

Part of the mayor’s re-election promise was to clean her city’s air and to improve the life of Parisians. On October 20, according to Forbes, she took a huge, brave step to make this happen. David Belliard, deputy mayor of transport, confirmed that 60,000 on-street parking spots would be removed to make more space for cyclists and pedestrians.

Belliard told Forbes that cars make up just 13 percent of trips in the city, yet they enjoy 50 percent of the space. In fact, this is not such a dramatic step as Parisians are not very reliant on their cars; three in ten Parisians own a car, and they use it mostly on the weekend, added Belliard. 

The idea is for drivers to use underground parking of which there are five times more spots than above ground. The surface parking spots that will be spared will be reserved for professionals who need their cars for business.

The vision is to metamorphose the roadside spots into public gardens, playgrounds, and plots for growing vegetables. Parisians are also invited to propose their own creative ideas for these new spaces.

“We can’t live as before, “ Hidalgo told the New York Times. “There’s been an acceleration in climate change.” She would like to see Paris having many more miles of bike lanes added by next year. Hidalgo’s goal is to also add more than 600 miles of bike lanes, transforming Paris into a safe biking paradise. Paris is already eighth on the 2019 Copenhagenize Index of bike-friendly cities in the world, and with this newly claimed space, it will certainly score higher in the future.

According to Forbes, Hidalgo’s ecological transformation is inspired by a concept called La Du Quart D’Heure or “a city of 15 minutes.” The idea, formulated by Charles Moreno, a Smart City professor, entails having essential needs of people within a short walk or bike ride to home. This will lessen the need to own a car, decrease pollution, and encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

In terms of Moreno’s concept applied to Paris, major thoroughfares would be accessible only to pedestrians and cyclists, while large boulevards would be remodeled into pedestrian plazas. Cars will be banned on streets outside of schools during school hours, offering more space and safety to children.

Hidalgo has work ahead of her, tearing up the concrete, diverting traffic, and eventually closing down roads to be car free. However, when this project is complete, it will enhance the city for Parisians and tourists alike. The “City of Love” may become the city of nature lovers, especially for future generations.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.