#Paris: In response to months of ecological demonstrations and a petition with more than 150,000 signatures, the Paris mayor’s office has abandoned plans for additional buildings near the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
According to the plan, four additional structures holding a café, stores, restrooms, and a luggage drop-off were going to be built, while about 20 mature trees would have been removed.
“I am announcing that we are completely canceling any construction project at the foot of the tower but the re-landscaping is maintained,” deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told the Journal du Dimanche. Following protests and complaints from locals, a decision was taken in May to rescue the trees.
The landscaping is a small component of a much broader plan to redesign the region near the well-known tourist destination, which includes planting grass and bushes along the streets and in other public places.
“We are not giving into pressure but we would like that the project is not overshadowed by controversy. Let’s just say that we are removing some of the friction,” Gregoire continued.
Currently crisscrossed by many highways, the 54 hectares (133 acres) space around the tower will be mostly given up to pedestrians and “low-impact transit” including bus and bike lanes.
The opening of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is the goal for city officials, who want to complete as much as they can.
20,000 to 30,000 people climb the tower each day, with an estimated 150,000 people visiting the tower site daily during the busy summer months. Seven million people visit the tower annually in total.
The decision to abandon the plans for additional structures and conserve the trees cheered the campaigners.
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