Paris is banning cars from part of a major highway that sees 43,000 cars a day

Paris seine highway
A rendering of the new Right Bank along the Seine River in Paris, France. Luxigon

Cars will no longer be welcome along a major highway in Paris.

In a few weeks, the city will ban all vehicles from the Right Bank, a popular two-mile expressway running along the Seine River, The Guardian reports.

It will be turned into a grassy promenade with a cycle way, flowerbeds, and a playground. Only pedestrians will be allowed to use it.

As CityLab notes, pro-car advocates say the ban will intensify traffic elsewhere. But according to previous tests where Paris closed the highway to cars, traffic on the neighbouring road only increased average journey time by one minute.

Urban planners and other supporters of the highway shutdown argue that the waterfront expressway has become unwelcome to those on foot, and the ban will alleviate that.

Paris seine
A rendering of the new Right Bank along the Seine River in Paris, France. Luxigon

In recent years, rising air pollution has also plagued Paris, which is why the city has been experimenting with temporary car bans from parts of downtown.

In July, the city completely banned cars built before 1997 from downtown in an effort to curb emissions. Since 2002, Paris has also seasonally closed parts of the road running along the Seine. The city also plans to double the number of bike lanes and limit select streets to electric cars by 2020.

Seine paris
The Right Bank along the Seine River in Paris, France. Mark Goebel/Flickr

Madrid set an even more ambitious car-free precedent in 2014 when the city announced a plan to kick cars out of 500 acres of downtown by 2020. Other European cities, like Oslo and Hamburg, have worked toward similar objectives but not at this scale and speed.

Paris’ Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, told the Guardian that the city’s latest car ban marks the “end of the urban motorway in Paris and the reconquest of the Seine.”

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