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Place de la République plans to add pedestrian plaza, reduce vehicle traffic
BonjourParis France News Daily
PARIS—If things go according to a plan started back in 2008, Place de la République will be more pedestrian friendly when a 17.5 million euro pedestrian esplanade is added in 2013.
Currently about 60 percent of Place de la République is used as a vehicle traffic hub where 10 different streets and three arrondissements (3rd, 10th and 11th) meet. Cars, buses, bicycles and motorcycles chaotically circle the Republic statue on lanes without markings. It’s presently a dangerous place for pedestrians and residents of this densely populated area.
Traffic will no longer whizz around the statue by the year 2013 if plans are approved. Traffic will be shifted to the side and a pedestrian-only plaza will be built with trees, reflecting pools, playground space, seating and wider paved walking paths. Renderings by architects and urban planners Trévelo & Viger-Kohler depict a thriving community center that hosts special events, performance art and temporary exhibitions. Rue Faubourg du Temple that starts at the statue will be entirely closed to cars with special lanes for bicycles, buses and taxis.
Place de la République is one of the largest squares in Paris. It was originally created in 1879 as Place du Château d’Eau, a gathering spot for political rallies. The large bronze statue of Marianne that stands today was created by Léopold Morice and it was dedicated on Bastille Day 1883 as a symbol of liberty, equality and fraternity in France.
Public inquiry continues until July 8 andconstruction is expected to start in autumn with completion in 2013.
Complete plans at a website created for Place de la République project.
Photo credits: plans and renderings; public domain image of site in 1900.
Dali Wiederhoft is the executive editor of BonjourParis. Please click on her name to read her bio and more of her stories published in BonjourParis.
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