Coronavirus: the bicycle lane under the Arc de Triomphe reopens for deconfinement

Published by Rizhlaine F., Elodie D. · Published on 8 May 2020 at 14h29 · Updated on 8 May 2020 at 14h39
As deconfinement is upon us, the Tunnel de l'Etoilet is said to reopen to welcome a bike lane under the Arc de Triomphe. This is a study launched to think about the underground spaces set underneath the Place de l’Etoile. The coronavirus epidemic and the necessity to increase the number of bikeways at the end of confinement enabled to speed this project up.

As deconfinement is upon us, public transit is an issue in the Paris region. In order to avoid clogging up the RATP network, we will try and use more alternative transport means. And in Paris, it is about leaving more space to bikers and limit the car traffic. The Paris city hall has said they wish to settle a temporary 50-km bikeway network as deconfinement is coming up.

An approach that speeded up the realization of a project of Paris city hall: transforming the tunnel de l'Etoile into a bikeway. This Wednesday May 6, 2020, the Police prefect signs the decree authorizing the use of this 380-m long road as a bikeway. At the time of deconfinement, the Tunnel de l'Etoile will reopen and the way will be mostly reserved for bikes and private transportation means (skateboard, scooters, roller and so on).

We could almost forget about the existence of the Tunnel de l’Etoile since it closed in 2015. If it’s closed to car for safety reasons, the Tunnel de l’Etoile stayed in the mind at Paris City Hall that sees here a gem: the opportunity to make a bicycle lane to bring Parisians and tourists from the Champs-Elysées to the Porte Maillot safely.

Already in 2017, the Mairie de Paris launched “Réinventer Paris” a call for project to decide the future of this tunnel. After a few proposals the City Hall didn’t validate, a new call for project has been launched to refit the tunnel and the City Hall teams up with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. For the City Hall, it’s an opportunity ‘to open the former Etoile road tunnel and its additional volumes to new functions, while keeping the two-way bicycle connection linking the top of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Avenue de la Grande Armée, allowing the City of Paris to create a bicycle-station to store and fix bicycles”.

As for the CMN, they would like to use the call for project to refit the access to the Arc de Triomphe that is very discreet. Today, the access can be easily mistaken with a metro entrance and it’s not easy to persons with reduced mobility.

Legacy from Napoleon’s reign, the Rond Point de l’Etoile joins 12 avenues including the Avenue des Champs Elysées, the Avenue Victor Hugo and the Avenue Carnot and the La Défense area. Open in 1970, the tunnel is 380 meters long for 8 meters wide and 2.75 meters high! For 45 years, the Tunnel de l’Etoile allowed cars to go under the Arc de Triomphe to go from the Champs-Elysées to the Porte Maillot, avoiding then the anxiety-provoking roundabout before the safety measures had it closed.

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