Call for green makeover of Champs-Élysées to reclaim avenue for Parisians

A committee representing local businesses on the Champs-Élysées is calling for traffic to be restricted and new green space added in a bid to make Parisians fall back in love with the legendary avenue.

Once known as the world's most beautiful street and a magnet for promenading Parisians, the Champs-Élysées is typically shunned by locals today.

"People are out of love [with the Champs-Élysées] because the avenue is considered too noisy, too polluted, not necessarily very safe, and perhaps too given over to tourists," says Philippe Chiambaretta, an urban architect.

"That's why we Parisians don't really want to come and stroll here anymore."

Working with the Champs-Élysées Committee, his firm, PCA-Stream, has come up with 150 proposals to change that.

In a report presented to Paris city hall this week, they recommend devoting an extra 13 percent of the two-kilometre avenue to pedestrians and doubling the width of cycle lanes, while keeping four lanes for cars instead of six.

Benches, fountains and public toilets should be installed the length of the avenue, the report says, converting the equivalent of 150 square metres into space for rest and relaxation.

It also outlines plans to turn the gardens at the base of the Champs-Élysées – currently sparsely planted and with few amenities – into a true city park, with playgrounds, fountains and greenery.

In total, the report calls for an extra 160 trees to be planted and a hectare of lawns and flowerbeds added – which, it points out, would also help adapt the avenue to climate change by replacing hard, reflective pavement with porous earth that doesn't hold on to heat or rainfall.

Read more on RFI English

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