Perhaps realizing that les grandes places have lost the usefulness of leading invading armies and rebellions to the slaughter, the city of Paris has announced plans to modernize its famous, circular squares.
Continuing her Bloombergian crusade for more pedestrian space, Mayor Anne Hidalgo has unveiled the results of nearly a year of consultations for the redesign of seven Parisian landmarks: the public squares at Bastille, Fêtes, Gambetta, Italie, Madeleine, Nation, and Panthéon. Promising “50% more space for pedestrians,” the redesigns would winnow the amount of traffic that can pass through the places, freeing up space for the public to sit and eat lunch, play sports, etc.
At place de la Bastille, for example, a half dozen crosswalks (the yellow stripes) will give pedestrians easier, safer access to the widened public space around the monument (the white dotted lines) and the surrounding streets, with the area between the landmark and the Bassin de l’Arsenal (almost imperceptibly purple) being developed to host concerts and special events.
The other six squares are slated for similar renovations, with the places de la Nation and d’Italie seeing the largest gains for pedestrians and coffee-break Parisians, and each of the areas getting a space for staging events. Work is scheduled to start in 2017, with the new squares being finished and unveiled in 2019.