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Monday, November 4, 2013

Paris' Traffic-Cutting Gamble Charms Pedestrians, Irks Drivers @NPR

Parisians and tourists sit at a cafe along the Seine River. The mayor of Paris recently closed down a major highway along the river to open it up for pedestrians.
In a daring gamble, the mayor of Paris recently shut off a major vehicle thoroughfare through the city, the highway along the Seine River.
The move is part of his plan to reduce traffic in the city. The new space delighted Parisians and tourists this summer, but many wonder if it'll be such a hot idea during the cold winter months.
Away from the busy street, next to the Pont Alexandre III Bridge that spans the Seine River, a new recreation and leisure area called Les Berges, or the banks, is set up for pedestrians. The area was once filled with cars speeding by, but now it's a place to take a stroll, ride a bike or just sit and hang out.
And hanging out is exactly what people are doing down on the berges on a recent Indian summer day. The noise of the traffic on the streets above is now replaced with other sounds, like a speedboat cutting through the waters.
There are new sights as well, like close-up views of the ornate sculpture on the sides of the bridges. Children frolic on a new playground, where a wall has been fitted with ropes and footholds for rock climbing.

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