Parisians resist car-free zone around Eiffel Tower

PARIS: Mayor of Paris

Anne Hidalgo

is facing serious challenge over her idea of removing cars around the

Eiffel Tower

and to construct a

green pathway

. Hidalgo is having a tough time to persuade both residents and the police force to transform one of the city’s most popular location.
Every day, tourists gather to capture images of the Eiffel Tower from the elevated point at Trocadero, which have beautiful gardens situated across the River Seine.

However, reaching Trocadero requires crossing two major intersections and often facing traffic on the Pont d’Iena bridge.
Earlier this week, Mayor Anne Hidalgo put forth a proposal aiming to remocve cars and create a green passage between the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero esplanade.

Despite her plans to start the project post-2024 Summer Olympics, her detractors — particularly the Paris police chief — remain resistant.
This initiative aligns with Hidalgo’s broader agenda to diminish automobile presence in Paris and enhance its environmental sustainability, a vision that has sparked discord among residents and political adversaries who perceive her policies as overly aggressive.
Hidalgo initially introduced the project in 2019 but encountered opposition from the city’s former police chief, Didier Lallement, and the right-wing mayors of three districts due to concerns regarding traffic disruptions.

However, Hidalgo, who recently proposed banning cars from half of the central Place de la Concorde, is banking on the enthusiasm surrounding the Olympics to garner backing for her ambitious endeavor.
Following the Games, Hidalgo envisions a car-free zone in front of the Eiffel Tower, accompanied by a green Trocadero, a pedestrian-friendly Iena bridge, and a reforested Champ-de-Mars, collectively forming an extensive park in the heart of Paris.
Supporters applaud Hidalgo’s efforts to combat pollution and expand green spaces in the densely populated metropolis, particularly given the challenges posed by increasingly frequent summer heatwaves.
While Hidalgo celebrated a major victory during her first term with the pedestrianization of the Seine’s right bank, the Trocadero project faced setbacks, having been rejected by an administrative court in 2022 and 2023.
Nevertheless, Hidalgo remains undeterred, presenting a modified plan to police authorities in anticipation of a fresh opportunity ahead of the Olympics.
However, her critics, including France’s culture minister Rachida Dati and Paris police chief Laurent Nunez, express concerns , citing traffic disruptions and emergency response times.

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