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From Academic Kids

Boulevard Périphérique is the French term for a ring road (US: beltway), a motorway or freeway encircling or orbiting a large city.

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Paris

The most famous of these is the Périphérique around Paris, a frequently congested stretch of 8-lanes motorway, which, unusually, does not feature a hard shoulder, and gives priority to entering vehicles. It was built in the early 1970s on the empty space left abandoned after the destruction of the defense wall of Paris in the 1920s, and completed on April 25, 1973. It is the generally-accepted boundary of the city, though it does not coincide with the administrative limits.

The Périphérique is administered by the City of Paris government.

In numbers

  • road
    • total length: 35.04 km (21.8 miles)
    • surface: 1,380,000 m²
  • bridges, exchangers, surroundings
    • 156 off on- and off-ramps, total of 54 km and 380,000 m²
    • 6 exchangers, 44 access points
    • 300,000 m² service pavement
  • protections, greenery, boards
    • 24 noise shields, totalling 51,100 m² on 14 km
    • 110 km of concrete and metal railings (being suppressed)
    • 440,000 m² of greens or woods
    • 10,000 trees
    • 550 advertisement boards
  • population and inconveniences
    • 100,000 inhabitants live alongside it
    • 40% in trenches, including several covered sections (especially those of the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes), elevated on 50%, and terrain-level on the remaining 10%; 30% are in tunnel, covered or shielded by noise shields;
  • crossings
    • 148 bridges above it
    • 17 métro lines, 66 roads, 4 pedestrian bridges, 3 pedestrian tunnels cross it.
  • equipment
    • 38,490 light sources
    • 99 CCTV cameras
    • 166 emergency call booths
    • 199 counting stations, 759 sensors
    • 324 variable display panels
  • 10,600 incidents per year (64% breakdowns, 33% accidents and 3% miscellaneous)
  • construction cost (1973 value): 305 million Euro, paid for 40% by the State, 40% by the City and 20% by the District.
  • traffic statistics
    • traffic in 2002: between 1.1 and 1.2 million vehicles per day: 89% light vehicles, 7% trucks, 4% motorbikes; 25% of the traffic in Paris.
    • average trip: 7 km
    • average speed on working days (7 h-21 h): 43 km/h (26 mph)

Peculiarities

French people most often refer to the Paris Périphérique as "le Périph" (/perif/). France's anglophone community occasionally refers to it as the "Périfreak", attesting to the many accidents and thick traffic formerly associated with it. Permanent automatic speed radars have been set up on the Périphérique since 2002, and cases of excess speed driving as well as mortality have considerably decreased in the space of two years. Visitors who have not driven in Paris since 2002 are often surprised at the new driving behaviors on the Périphérique when they return to Paris.

Although the Parisian beltway is controlled-access for its entire length, all standard road maps do not show it as a true freeway (autoroute in French) because of its substandard construction; instead, it is depicted as a kind of expressway or super-arterial. It is notorious for its sharp curves, sharp grade changes, low tunnels, and short ramps. It does have an innovative feature where sensors in the road detect traffic speeds, and overhead electronic signs display the projected travel time to the next two or three exits.

Toulouse

There is also a Périphérique in Toulouse, which was completed in the early 2000s, and which circles around the center of the metropolitan area of Toulouse.

There are also périphériques around Lyon and Bordeaux.

See also

de:Périphérique fr:Périphérique (route)

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