The idea of a car-free Rive Droite in Paris took another step closer to becoming a reality over the weekend after the Prefecture of Police signed up for a six-month trial.
The police chief, Michel Cadot, said that authorities would be “particularly vigilant” to ensure a pedestrianization will not hinder emergency workers.
“I will be very careful during this period to make sure that the plan is implemented effectively and that we get a clear vision on how it impacts the daily lives of Parisians and their safety,” he told Le Parisien in an interview published on Monday.
The project, which would see a total closure to vehicles of the 3.3 kilometre stretch, still needs to get the green light from the Paris Council in a vote on September 26th.
The idea was launched by Mayor Anne Hidalgo in May last year. She pointed to the work done in cities like Lyon and Bordeaux, which have been lauded for reclaiming parts of the river banks for pedestrians.
She has long worked to reduce pollution in Paris, which is responsible for 6,500 deaths a year.
Her plan followed a similar move by her predecessor Bertrand Delanoë, whose flagship scheme to close the highway along the left bank has been deemed a success even if it angered motorist groups at the time.
On the right bank, meanwhile, the idea of a closure has also angered motorists, not least because 2,700 vehicles pass along the highway each hour at peak times, prompting concerns that other parts of the city will become congested due to the closure.