Geneva, 4 April 2017 - The Etat de Genève and CERN are today announcing the imminent start of work just outside the CERN site to create the brand-new Esplanade des Particules, a space worthy of Europe’s leading laboratory for particle physics. At the gateway into Geneva and Switzerland, CERN is already a top visitor attraction and enjoys global renown. The project will integrate the Laboratory better into the local urban landscape, making it more open and more easily accessible. Work will begin on 18 April and will last for a period of 16 months.
The idea for an Esplanade des Particules came jointly from the République et Canton de Genève, CERN and the Commune de Meyrin. A competition was launched in 2011 for a redesign of the Route de Meyrin intended to showcase the public entrance to CERN. The landscape architects Studio Paolo Bürgi of Ticino won this international competition with their design for a large space dedicated to pedestrians and sustainable modes of transport, connecting CERN’s Reception to the Globe of Science and Innovation, a symbol of CERN and of sustainable development, donated to the Organization by the Swiss Confederation.
In 2016, more than 120 000 people from all over the world visited CERN. In order to facilitate access for this ever-growing number of visitors, the Esplanade des Particules will be a public space aimed at sharing CERN’s creative and dynamic atmosphere with local and international visitors alike.
40% of the project is financed by the Swiss Confederation in the framework of the Grand Genève urban development project and the remaining 60% is split between the Canton de Genève, CERN and the Ville de Meyrin. “As a cross-border international organisation, CERN embodies the spirit of Grand Genève and I’m happy that this project, which is worthy of this emblematic institution, is coming to fruition,” said Mr Luc Barthassat, state councillor in charge of the Department of the Environment, Transport and Agriculture.
“As with the Globe of Science and Innovation, which symbolises our desire to welcome the general public, the Esplanade des Particules will further demonstrate CERN’s openness to the city of Geneva and to the world,” said Dr Fabiola Gianotti, CERN Director-General. “We are looking forward to working with all of our partners to continue to develop the space around the Globe.”
The Esplanade des Particules is a pedestrianised area comprising several key features:
The current Flags Car Park will be replaced by a blue-coloured pedestrianised area that will extend as far as the Globe.
A forest of national flags will cross the Route de Meyrin to link CERN’s main site with the Globe, symbolising CERN’s international collaboration.
A large number of covered bike racks will be constructed.
The Route de Meyrin will continue to serve road traffic but the speed limit will be reduced to 50 km/h at the point where it crosses through the pedestrianised area.
“We are pleased to be participating in this project, which will increase CERN’s visibility in the local area,” said Mr Pierre Alain Tschudi, administrative councillor for the Commune de Meyrin. “This work is fully in line with Meyrin’s desire to create attractive and pleasant public spaces to help us all to live together in harmony.”
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During the works
How will traffic be affected?
The current speed limit is 60 km/h. The aim of the project is to force drivers to slow down because of pedestrians, so the speed limit will be reduced to 50 km/h. The safety of pedestrians is the top priority.
The speed limit will be displayed on road signs while the work is in progress.
Public transport timetables will not be affected.
What measures have been taken to ensure traffic flow? Are cyclists and pedestrians taken into consideration?
Safety and guidance will be improved with signs that are more visible and the markings on the ground will be adapted. In addition, the two pedestrian crossings at the tram stops will be managed with the presence of Securitas attendants during peak hours, from 15:30 to 19:30, from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)
Will the tram be affected by the work?
The tram stop will be shifted by about a hundred metres in the Geneva direction but only during the first months of the work. It will return to its original location later on. In addition, the traffic lights will be reprogrammed to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
Will I be able to park my bicycle?
Yes. Bike racks will still be available in the vicinity of Building 33 during the work. The racks will be slightly shifted as the work progresses. There is no plan to remove them; on the contrary, additional racks will be installed.
Will the Reception area remain where it is?
Yes. There is no plan to move the Reception area, and the opening days and times will remain unchanged.
Will the Reception still be accessible to people with reduced mobility coming from the Globe car park? Will the way be indicated?
Yes. Access to the Reception will be marked out and the Reception will remain accessible to people with reduced mobility at all times. However, the need to cross the area where the civil-engineering work is under way will inevitably cause a certain amount of inconvenience.
Will visits continue as normal?
Yes.The itineraries will not change. However, it is strongly recommended that you allow plenty of time and arrive at the Reception 20 minutes before the start of the visit.
Will it take longer to book a tour because of the work?
No. The waiting times will remain the same as today.
Where can visitors’ coaches park?
Coaches must drop visitors at the Globe car park and wait there until they return. The parking area for coaches is right at the back of the car park.
After the works
Why remove the Flags car park?
The Esplanade des Particules project was actually initiated several years ago. The Flags car park was supposed to be replaced by the Globe car park, and the co-existence of the two is simply a consequence of the delay in starting the work on the Esplanade des Particules. The Globe car park is only a few metres away from the Reception.
Do the blue colour and the surface texture of the Esplanade take the needs of visually impaired and blind people into account?
Yes. Guiding lines for the visually impaired will be marked out on the ground close to both pedestrian crossings.
Will there be a sheltered area on the Esplanade in case of bad weather?
No. Just like today, the Esplanade will be totally open, with the exception of the TPG bus and tram stops, which are already sheltered.
Will benches be provided on the Esplanade?
Yes. There will be a large number of benches for people to sit down, have a picnic or simply relax. Litter bins will also be provided next to them