Mayor of Paris removes urban motorways to give banks of Seine back to walkers and cyclists

From Saturday 1 September 2012, Parisians will be able to enjoy a large new people-friendly section of the riverside north of the River Seine.

The changes include narrowing the road between Hotel de Ville and Quai Henry IV to create new pedestrian corridors, riverside walkways, along with new cafes and bars.

In spring 2013, an even larger scheme will be completed that will remove a 1.5-mile section of urban motorway from the opposite riverbank, creating what's hoped will be a walking and cycling paradise.

The riverside transformations are the latest of Mayor Bertrand Delanoe's projects to reclaim portions of the city away from motor vehicles, following his expansion of cycle routes and introduction of the Velib cycle hire, which was the model for London's successful scheme.

Delanoe has had to fight against national politicians and motoring groups to make sure the £30 million project succeeds, but planners have assured motorists that journey times are only likely to be marginally affected.

The riverside project comes in the wake of the successful Paris Plages, which saw Voie Georges-Pompidou transformed each summer into a seaside resort, complete with sand, parasols and palm trees.

What about London?

As far back as 1986, Richard Rogers produced a visionary plan to redesign London's Embankment between Westminster and Blackfriars as a people-friendly space, to replace the four-lane urban motorway that exists now.

Mayor Boris Johnson signed up to LCC's Love London, Go Dutch campaign in May 2012, committing to creating three flagship walking and cycling projects in the capital.

In May of this year he announced Greenwich and Vauxhall as the first two locations.