Deconfinement: bikeways, schools, parks and gardens... Anne Hidalgo’s propositions to lift confinement in Paris

Published by Caroline J., Alexandre G. · Photos by Alexandre G. · Published on 5 May 2020 at 09h42 · Updated on 10 May 2020 at 08h59
This May 5th, interviewed by Le Parisien, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo detailed her propositions to lift confinement. Bikeways, reopening parks, gardens and woods in town, gradual reopening of schools on May 14th... Paris Mayor already said 2 million cloth facemasks to be given for free, massive screening testing, remote working extended beyond May 11. Let's have an update.

Succeeding in deconfinement”. In a letter send to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe this Wednesday April 8, 2020, excerpts of which have been published by newspaper Le Monde, Anne Hidalgo delivers details for a plan to lift confinement in Paris, still on lockdown since March 17, 2020. Between the lines, Paris Mayor encourages before all a “massive screening test” in priority of “priority public”.

During an extraordinary session with Paris Council on April 28, Paris Mayor has given more details about those propositions, reminding first the measures already implemented by the city such as giving millions of masks to health caregivers, reinforcing food help for the most in need and even massive testing in nursing homes. Anne Hidalgo said "there's a lot to do before returning to normal life [...] With this health crisis, we will experience an unprecedented economic and social crisis".

This May 5th, in Le ParisienAnne Hidalgo unveiled new leads to take Paris out of containment, but this time, she spoke about fitting bikeways, reopening parks, gardens and woods in town.

Giving masks and setting up hand sanitizer distributors

As containment exit is upon us, Anne Hidalgo announces 2.2 million reusable masks will be given for free.

On May 5, on LCIAnne Hidalgo confirmed cloth facemasks will be given to Parisians very soon. "Cloth facemasks will arrive on May 7th in pharmacies with which we will set up a pass system so that Parisians can have a free masks very easily" she said. The LCI channel precises that a pass, a voucher, will be available on the city's website. Careful though, don't run to the pharmacies on May 7. As a matter of fact, because of productiontime, these cloth facemasks will not all arrive in pharmacies at the same time. "By June 8th, 2,800,000 masks would have been given to Parisians" she said.

By the way, Paris mayor said that "500,000 surgical masks will be given this week from arrondissement mayors to the most fragile people".

Another point: hand sanitizer distributors and soap will be available in public places in Paris.

Wide screening test campaigns

Still during the extraordinary Paris Council, Anne Hidalgo has said that screening test campaigns will be extended to municipal agents, and all those in contact with the public.

Still in JDD, Paris Mayor told more about massive screening testing of Parisians, saying they "should massively perform tests to handle confinement and deconfinement better". "I highly insisted on it so that staff and residents are systematically tested in Paris nursing homes. We've deployed them with the Agence régionale de Santé. We will keep on doing so on other populations, such as the thousands of municipal agents in contact with the public. To do so, we've ordered PCR tests and we will keep on doing so" she insisted.

For people already infected, the socialist mayor considers quarantine in order to apply “the principle of physical separation between healthy people” and the others. An agreement has been found between Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, Ile-de-France collectivities and hotel Accor group president to house in hotels in Ile-de-France, coronavirus-infected people "asymptomatic or weak carriers" but contagious.

Gradual reopening of school on May 14th

What about gradually reopening schools? In Le Parisien released this May 5th, Paris Mayor said she was working on gradually reopening schools on May 14th, that is to say, 3 days after teachers. "We think we should more or less welcome not over 15% of Parisian students on May 14th" Anne Hidalgo said.

The socialist mayor explained that priority will be given to children from kindergartens, first graders, fifth graders and disabledn and those who let it all go during confinement, without forgetting children from RATP staff.

As for daycares, they will gradually reopen from May 12th.

Transit public issue

The mayor also said she was working on alternatives to public transit such as remote working. In the JDD, Anne Hidalgo recommended remote working be extended beyond May 11 when possible. "If all metro users go back to work in mid-May, the epidemic is likely to break out again".

As for public transit, and especially main stations and railway stations, like Saint-Lazare or Les Halles, Pris mayor told the AFP that she was working with the region's prefecture, the Ile-de-France region and public transit operators to "layout the surroundings and create queues, outside, in the streets and inside railway stations, like we did after the terror attacks".

Setting up temporary bikeways

Paris mayor also proposes to create temporary bikeways everywhere in Ile-de-France, from the A86 to Paris and within the French capital. Goal? Allowing many and secured roads for bikes. "We are working on that matter" she said. The Ile-de-France region also announced its financial support to create a RER Vélo network.

Anne Hidalgo also added that the priority of these bikeways will be given along metro lines 1, 4 and 13. The Rue de Rivoli is considered as an "interesting road to relieve the pressure of public transit". "I wish rue de Rivoli to get a road only devoted for bikes, and another one for buses, cabs, emergency cars and artisans' cars, but not longer for cars. So, we will be able to bike from the East to the West" Paris Mayor told the AFP.

In Le Parisien released on May 5th, Paris Mayor said that 50km of roads, usually reserved for cars, will be open to bikes. In addition to the rue de Rivoli, other segments in town will give pride of place to bicycles such as the Porte d'Orléans, the Boulevard Saint-Michel, the Tunnel de l'Etoile and the Porte Maillot...

Last but not least, the goal of creating such bikeways is to avoid a massive return to using cars that would worsen the health crisis. "Pollution mixed with coronavirus is a very dangerous cocktail" Paris Mayor said. Anne Hidalgo also said new park-and-ride facilities will open at the gates of Paris and "linked to the bikeway network".

Reopening parks, gardens and woods

This is a wish from Paris mayor for parks, gardens and woods in town "can be places of stroll and breathing". To enable the reopening, the mayor works on a counting system. Yet, Anne Hidalgo warns "it's out of question to allow picnics or collective workouts". According to Le Parisien, playgrounds are said to stay banned after May 11th.

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