Plans put forward by the Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, to pedestrianise the banks of the Seine are not popular among motorists. Two associations – 40millions d’automobilistes and Association des Avocats d’Automobile – are now contesting his project for the right and left banks and say that they will go to court if necessary.
Pavements have already been widened and new traffic lights have been installed along a stretch of the right bank in central Paris, around Hôtel de Ville.
In spring 2013 it will be the turn of the left bank when about two kilometres from Pont de l’ Alma to Pont Royal near the Louvre will be closed to traffic. The plans include promenades, floating gardens, flower market and restaurants.
The motorists against the plan claim that it will cause more congestion, more time spent in cars and will overload the public transport system. About 2,000 cars an hour use the left bank during peak-traffic times.
However police say that there have not been any difficulties so far along the part already in operation on the right bank.
The mayor’s plans, which will cost about €40 million, have been given the blessing of the new Socialist government, having been blocked by the previous right-wing prime minister.