Bastia Old Port to be Pedestrianised in May 2024 

Bastia Old Port to be Pedestrianised in May 2024 

Bastia in Corsica has entered its second phase of development to pedestrianise the north quay of the old port and ban all cars, causing controversy with some locals who object to the plans. 

Construction started this month to get rid of any remaining asbestos on the site, after completing the first phase of development in renovating the south quay of the old port. 

As a result, precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of the site while limiting closures of neighbouring businesses. It is expected to be finished by the end of December 2023. 

“To limit the impact, we have divided the area into four parts. Each area will be closed for two to three weeks to carry out the asbestos removal work, which will have to comply with very strict regulations,” said Natacha Casalta, deputy director of development for Bastia. 

“The worksite, entrusted to an approved company, must be enclosed. A misting system will be installed indoors to control dust, and air quality checks will be carried out systematically. 

The work will begin in zone 1, just past Montée Stagnara, and will gradually move towards Quai des Martyrs, as part of a mobile construction site. Two-metre-high tarpaulin barriers will be installed on each of these sections. Once the asbestos removal work is complete, the site will be paved and the concrete poured.  

The project will make the entire area pedestrian-friendly © Jenny Eagle

“The aim is to make the site flat again,” said Jérôme Terrier, the town’s Director General of Services, who is in charge of planting trees and flowers, public lights and street furniture.  

“We wish to return the quay to pedestrians, but also to all other users, by encouraging soft modes of transport”, explained Pierre Savelli, the Mayor of Bastia, who wants to create “an extension of the soft route, the Spassimare and the Aldilonda. The idea is to change the Old Port to make it more attractive and visible. The shopkeepers are in favour of this pedestrianisation”. 

The details of the traffic plan still need to be approved. They include regulating the south quay, which allows those with rights to enter with their cars, after their number plate has been automatically scanned, or introducing a time slot limited to morning deliveries.  

Restaurant owners will also be given more space in front of their establishments without encroaching on pedestrian and bicycle traffic. 

The final stage of the development will take place at the bottom of the Quai des Martyrs and on the fishermen’s mole (a structure made of stone or concrete, used as a pier, breakwater, or causeway separated by water).  

Here, a shaded area will be installed so that by summer next year, the fish market can return, and the Quai de la Madunetta will once again be accessible. An access ramp for people with reduced mobility (PMR), based on the architectural codes of the Aldilonda, will be built to allow access to this area, which is currently only accessible via narrow staircases.  

“The idea is to be able to reach it as it was before the tunnel and Quai des Martyrs were built,” said architect Michel Puccini of ADP agency. 

The total cost of the second phase is expected to reach €3.50m, out of a total requalification programme estimated at €8m. “This is one of the most difficult phases,” admits the technical team. Not only because of the asbestos, but also because of the time required for consultation, which had to be undertaken with the shopkeepers, who were presented with a target and completion of the works in May 2024. 

Between now and the end of December, the final phase of the redevelopment programme will involve “emptying the port” of the last cars by transforming the car park into a landscaped amphitheatre.  

For more details and to book a walking tour of the city visit 

The local tourist office offers walking tours of the old port © Jenny Eagle

Lead photo credit : Bastia's old port will be transformed © Jenny Eagle

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Jenny Eagle has been a journalist for more than 20 years, writing for The Daily Mail, OK! magazine, The Sun, The Mirror, the Mail on Sunday, the Press Association and The Sunday Telegraph. Her career highlights include working with the European Union as a host and facilitator for the EU Citizens Dialogues for the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021. Jenny has lived and worked in Montpellier for 10 years and in her spare time writes travel articles for France Today, The Good Life France and Culture Trip.

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