Paris Is Plotting a Greener, Slower Beltway

Paris beltway imagined new
A rendering of the reimagined Paris beltway. (Credit: Céline Orsingher)

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s reelection manifesto calls for a green revamp of the Boulevard Périphérique, the city’s car-clogged inner ring urban highway.

By Feargus O’Sullivan

Like so many cities, Paris is girdled by beltways — several of them, in fact. The innermost and most notorious one is known as the Boulevard Périphérique,  a 22-mile-long ring road completed in 1973 and built in part upon the footprint of the city’s historic walls. The traffic-clogged urban highway plays a major role in Parisian mobility, but it’s also a prime contributor of pollution, both atmospheric and aural, as well as an all-but-impassable barrier severing the historic city from its inner suburbs. Last year, Paris deputies proposed downsizing the Périphérique, removing vehicle lanes and dropping speed limits to transform the road from a smog-spewing limited-access highway into a tree-lined “metropolitan avenue.”

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