Synagogue Square is entirely pedestrian

Synagogue Square is entirely pedestrian
Synagogue Square is entirely pedestrian

In Geneva, the Place de la Synagogue is now entirely pedestrian. Inaugurated on Tuesday after a year of work, the new development restores the esplanade as it was designed by Geneva architect Maurice Braillard in 1944.

‘The new face of Synagogue Square expresses a double ambition. On the one hand, it is about respecting and promoting an important architectural and historical heritage. On the other, to adapt places to climate change,’ declared the administrative advisor of the City of Geneva Frédérique Perler, in charge of the department of planning, construction and mobility.

Five plane trees were planted to complete the alley between rue du Stand and the Beth-Yaacov synagogue, built between 1857 and 1859 and listed in 1989. ‘Once they have grown, they will bring Maurice Braillard’s original idea to fruition to create a plant canopy’, noted the magistrate. Two trees were also planted at the back of the building to combat heat islands.

Traffic removed

Thanks to the removal of sidewalks and the two adjacent traffic lanes, the square forms a large space in one piece, from facade to facade, where the restaurants have installed their terraces. In the center, the bitumen was replaced by a clear, permeable coating. The original paving leading to the synagogue has been restored, and the historic fountain has been preserved, as have the two stone benches.

A new vegetated flower bed was created at rue du Général-Dufour in order to close access to vehicles. Without motorized traffic or parking spaces, the surroundings of the synagogue, used by the Jewish Community of Geneva, are safer.

The project to redevelop this square was launched following the submission of a petition to the Municipal Council at the end of 2009. It was delayed by the tram construction work on rue du Stand then by appeals from the Chamber of Commerce, industry and services in Geneva. In 2019, the Federal Court ruled in favor of the City of Geneva, which carried out a first pedestrianization in 2020.

/ATS

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