The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party), wants to redevelop the Place du Châtelet, in the heart of the capital and a nerve center for traffic, by reducing the place of the car in favor of the pedestrian, she explains in an interview at Sunday newspaper. “It will be the end of the current roundabout” which distributes traffic between the banks of the Seine, the Ile de la Cité and the left bank on one side, the rue de Rivoli and the boulevard de Sébastopol on the other, says the elected socialist.
West side, in front of the Théâtre du Châtelet, “Traffic will be reserved, on a single lane, for buses, taxis, priority vehicles and bicycles”on the model of the Saint-Paul embankment (4e), “with large pedestrian spaces”explains M.me Hidalgo, whose plans to reduce car space have aroused the ire of motorists for years.
On the east side, that of the Théâtre de la Ville, renamed Sarah-Bernhardt for its reopening in September, “the entrance to boulevard Sébastopol will have two lanes of traffic, a bus lane and a cycle path” in both directions, details the mayor. As for the square itself, where there is a monument commemorating Napoleon’s victories, it will be “enlarged and decluttered” with “removable trays and bleachers” and a new paving “sober and respectful of heritage”she promises.
These facilities, the cost of which is estimated at 2 million euros, will be completed in the spring of 2024, in time for the Olympic Games, assures Anne Hidalgo. Asked about the reopening, at the beginning of September, of the Théâtre de la Ville, place du Châtelet – after seven years of work which caused the final bill to explode, estimated at around forty million euros – Anne Hidalgo « assume » a project “poorly engaged due to lack of tight enough piloting”.
The ex-PS presidential candidate is also considering “remove the grates” from the square next to the Saint-Jacques tower, a jewel of the 16th centurye century, for “enjoy its freshness all the time”. His plan to remove the gates from the square adjoining Notre-Dame, one of the oldest in the capital, is already causing controversy. Nearly 50,000 people have already signed a petition demanding the restoration of the square to an identical one. “We organized a consultation and an international competition which unanimously designated a winning project, validated by all the heritage authorities of the country”argues the mayor.