Paris has announced plans to make its public spaces a little bit greener. The city will be converting seven of its roundabouts into pedestrian spaces where Parisians and tourists can come to relax. Since many of the city’s largest intersections happen to circle historic landmarks, transforming traffic-congested car lanes into green spaces will also create better access to monuments and tourist attractions.
Fast Company's Co.Exist reports that Paris has been toying with the idea for some time. In 2013, the city transformed the Place de la République into a tree-lined pedestrian plaza, which quickly became a popular destination. The seven additional roundabout redesign projects, which include the Place de la Bastille, Place de la Madeleine, and Place du Pantheon, among others, are something of an extension of that initial project.
Paris isn’t rushing into the redesign project blindly, though. The French Transportation Users Association wants to ensure that these spaces become more pedestrian friendly without significantly inconveniencing drivers. To that end, they’ve hired a company called Placemeter to study, in incredible detail, how some of these spaces are put to use. Temporary cameras will note exactly how and how many people interact within them, as well as how cars factor into the equation.
The idea is to convert spaces that are currently monopolized by cars into areas that can be used by everyone. “Those plazas are giant vehicle messes, with all the noise and pollution that goes with it, whereas they could be open places where you could breathe," Placemeter’s Martin Lagache told Co.Exist. “We're providing for the first time to the city of Paris a dynamic tool to be able to experiment with streetscape redesign, or placemaking, in an agile way, and avoid spending tens of millions of euros in projects that haven't been tested in real life before.”