Friends of the Earth Paris have formed an alliance with Greenpeace Paris, Extinction Rebellion and local actors such as the Porte de Montreuil flea union and the Paris biffins association “Amelior” to oppose the current project of the City of Paris and encourage other alternatives. For this, for a few months, the alliance has been towing with local residents to make known the inconsistencies of the project, to stimulate discussions, to collect comments and addresses. Then, during the winter, the alliance organized two urban planning workshops with the people met during the tows but also elected officials from Paris XX.thBagnolet and Montreuil.
This mobilization was relayed by EELV Paris to the Paris City Hall. Which slows down the case.
An above-ground program unfavorable to working-class neighborhoods
The program for the operation led by Nexity provides for a majority of offices, while the city of Paris is experiencing a record vacancy rate for its office buildings (4,082,000 m² of vacant offices in April 2022).
These offices are called to take place on the current rights-of-way of green spaces but also of the flea market taking place every Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Porte de Montreuil.
This market, draining both Montreuillois.es, Bagnoltais.es and inhabitants.es of the eastern districts of Paris and neighboring towns, must be relegated to the ground floor of office buildings for “more comfort and a higheris a gamme”, in the words of Olivia Polski, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of trade and crafts. A project of “ upmarket which will leave aside a large proportion of the flea marketers currently working in the open air at Porte de Montreuil and whose logistics, in particular the accessibility of the flea market trucks, leaves much to be desired.
Such a program runs the risk of ousting the popular uses and animation of the place to replace them with an inanimate office district in the evening and on weekends, thus no longer allowing shopkeepers on rue de Paris to benefit from the dynamism of the flea market. . Ultimately, this project represents a major threat in terms of gentrification of the Porte de Montreuil district, pushing ever further away from Paris and its amenities precarious populations, unable to absorb the rise in property prices favored by such a project.
The elements we denounce:
- A contradictory project with the “green belt” project of the Paris City Hall.
- A project that illustrates the drift in the quest for land currently taking place in Paris, which is pushing to build on the last soils in the open ground and/or on polluted sites.
- A project that builds an office barrier between Paris and Montreuil, far from the desired connection.
- The construction of a concrete cover on the ring road has exorbitant economic (several tens of millions of euros) and ecological (CO2 emission for the construction and concentration of pollutants) costs.
- A project with a negative balance in terms of revegetation: planting trees on a concrete slab will not be able to compensate for the felling of 250 mature trees in the ground.
- A project led by Nexity contributing to the privatization of public space, ceded by the city of Paris through Semapa.
- A project adding thousands of m2 of offices in Paris, despite suffering from a strong vacancy of its office space at the present time.
- A project precarious fleas and biffins of the Montreuil flea market.
- A project distorting the popular atmosphere of the place and contributing to the gentrification of the district.
Understand everything: the geographical location
The cumulative harm argument
The Paris ring road is one of the most polluted roads in Europe, in terms of air pollution and noise pollution.
It is therefore not uncommon to find areas classified as “environmental black spots” along the ring road. The Porte de Montreuil is one of them. The proposed Porte de Montreuil project therefore deliberately densifies one of the most polluted areas in the region, without taking any action to reduce nearby sources of pollution beforehand.
Covering the device, what impacts?
The coverings of portions of the ring road at the level of the entrances to Paris are supposed to create urban seams with the suburban towns and to calm the surroundings of the ring road. In fact, the covers built above the ring road concentrate the polluting gases emitted by road traffic at the entrances and exits of the tunnels created. For this, two building permits for building-bridge projects spanning the ring road (Mille Arbres and Ville Multistrates) were canceled in court because such an operation “is likely to harm public health” according to the administrative court.
Moreover, the carbon impact of such an infrastructure is very high because it requires thousands of m3 of concrete for its construction. However, the cement industry, a key constituent of concrete, is responsible for 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, ie twice as much as the air sector.
The argument from the reality of the “green ring road”
The areas around the ring road are major “nature in the city” reserves in the Paris conurbation. Indeed, the ring road is bordered by 51 hectares of embankments planted with thousands of trees. These trees have now reached sufficient maturity to provide all their ecosystem benefits (large areas of shade, shelter for many species of birds, insects and other plants, CO2 capture, soil maintenance and absorption of rainwater, etc. .).
The ring road therefore already constitutes a green belt around Paris. In the current context, it is desirable to protect, soothe and link the embankments together in order to create a vast ecological corridor around Paris, contributing in particular to cooling the city in summer.
However, although in its communication the city of Paris affirms that it wants to make the ring road a “green belt”, the urban planning operations that it supports contribute to destroying the Parisian plant heritage to make way for constructions: example here with the evolution of the Porte des Lilacs.
While a bioclimatic PLU is nevertheless being developed, the Porte de Montreuil project is no exception and provides for the felling of 250 mature trees (76 of which have already been felled in April 2022).
The greening argument
Despite these hundreds of fellings, the communication carried out around the Porte de Montreuil project boasts of an intervention in favor of revegetation thanks to the planting of new trees on the concrete cover built above the ring road. However, for lack of being able to draw water from deep in the ground, these plants will be very fragile and will not withstand the heat waves that are expected to increase in the future. This precarious vegetation does not in any way constitute compensation for the losses caused by the felling of 250 mature trees in the ground. The results of the project in terms of revegetation can therefore only be negative.
A walk to show the inconsistency of the project
In April, we organized two “urban walks” to develop our arguments. These two actions attracted about fifteen people including local journalists.
We first explained the current project: among other things, construction of a building above the ring road, while the same type of construction has just been challenged by the courts in the Porte Maillot project, filling in the center of the Porte de Montreuil, which will be very expensive and will use a lot of concrete and therefore not compatible with the necessary reduction in GHG emissions. The rest of the project concerns the construction of office buildings, shops and housing along the ring road on the Montreuil/Bagnolet side, which will lead to an increase in road traffic, incompatible with the desire of the City of Paris to pass the ring road. 2 x 2 lanes. There will also be a densification and ultimately a gentrification of the entrance to Montreuil. All the small shops at the start of Rue de Paris will be doomed to disappear. In short, this does not correspond to the objective of the “bioclimatic PLU” sold to us by the City of Paris and the objective of having a city that can remain livable with heat waves.
Our requests and proposals:
- Maintain and protect all site trees and open ground surfaces.
- Abandon the construction of the slab on the device.
- Abandon the construction of buildings, especially offices, on the embankments.
- Renovate and maintain the existing ring: verification of the structure and treatment of the ground.
- Renovate and maintain the walkway at the end of the flea market.
- Keep the flea market outdoors. Plant more trees there to provide shade in the summer. Install functional sanitary facilities (toilets and water point). Install the equipment necessary for the management of flea market waste.
- Support the market by encouraging the installation of new fleas and the regularization of biffins.
- Develop wide cycle paths for better safety of cyclists.
- Provide wide sidewalks for better pedestrian safety.
- Reduce the speed of motorized vehicles on the site.
- Set up a transitional urban planning project to propose a quick solution and energize the place by encouraging consultation and the participation of the inhabitants.
An urgency to act
At the beginning of April, a panel displaying the building permit for construction site bungalows appeared along the fences of the area already partly deforested and which is currently occupied by a Roma camp. The alliance is therefore required to seek legal recourse to suspend the start of the work and to publish a press release on May 31.
… To be continued…
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