It’s not just in Paris that cars are no longer welcome. More and more large metropolises are developing entire streets, even districts, for the comfort of pedestrians. All over the world, projects are popping up in city centers with the same ambition each time: to walk in the street without fear of passing cars or buses and breathing their exhaust fumes. What if man reclaims the center of his cities?
In Vietnam, in Ho Chi Minh City, there are plans to open more pedestrian streets in the city center so that residents and tourists alike have privileged places to relax, far from traffic and pollution. The idea is to open major axes to pedestrians without public transport in the heart of the city. This concerns an area of 300 hectares where there are cafes, restaurants and traditional markets. However, this requires such improvements that it will not be completed before 2025. Among them is the construction of metro stations to get there and get around easily. The circulation of vehicles on the road could then be prohibited there on weekends and certain evenings.
In Shanghai (China), a gigantic pedestrian mall has been developed on Nanjing Road, with the aim of stimulating consumption, both for locals and tourists. It is one of the largest shopping streets in the country, now reserved for pedestrians. In Sydney (Australia), there are plans to extend the pedestrian zone along George Street, again right in the city center, so that it is now 2 kilometers long. The work is expected to be completed in 2022.
Closer to home, in Leicester (England), there are also plans to extend the pedestrian zones, by diverting some buses from the city center. In particular, the new bus route is expected to gain free space around the Haymarket Clock Tower in the city’s historic quarter. Ditto in Bristol (England) where some streets until then closed temporarily will be closed permanently, a decision strongly encouraged by traders. The town hall is also working to transform the historic center of the city into an area reserved for pedestrians.
France is not left out, with several cities regularly opening certain arteries to pedestrians. Nantes was thus a pioneer in this field on the Cours des 50 Otages. In Paris, after the banks, rue de Rivoli is now closed to cars to favor bicycles, taxis and buses. No question therefore for pedestrians to walk in the middle of the road.