Cap Pinède Avenue and Capitaine Gèze Boulevard are a structural component of the Aix-Marseille Provence metropolis. Located at the interface between the city center and the northern districts of Marseille, it connects the A55 and A7 highways, as well as a multimodal hub (PEM), which opened in 2019 to encourage to use public transportation to reach the historic center.
The Cap Pinède - Capitaine Gèze section is typical of 20th century road infrastructures: it has been built at the expense of the immediate urban context. On its outskirts, the public space comes up against an uncrossable cut, and is fragmented into a multitude of undefined residual places, hardly appropriable (only a flea market has found its place there).
In 2021, the dismantlement of a motorway footbridge marked the launch of a vast requalification project now led by the MDP agency. This project will create a large boulevard of approximately 45 meters wide, i. e. one of the widest in Marseille. The new boulevard will be characterized by a very strong vegetation presence, incorporating bicycle paths and wide sidewalks on each side, as well as by the creation of transverse ramifications that will link the adjacent neighborhoods.
The supremacy given to road traffic until now is now reversed. The plantings will be inserted between the different traffic lanes to separate them, significantly reduce the impact of traffic, and organize crossings. The typical section of the boulevard will integrate five vegetation ditches planted with large trees, which will make it possible to manage rainwater (ten-year rainfall, specific functions and dimensions).
It is not just a question of a simple surface development. This ambitious project is based on a radical transformation of grading, and on the reconsideration of several prospects to be built. Besides the management of constraints, the project succeeds in introducing a strong and determined plant presence, not as an accompaniment or decoration, but in the definition of urban typologies and functions.
Facing the multimodal hub (PEM), the round-about is removed to accommodate the future Gèze square. Here, the typology of the boulevard's planted valleys is replaced by that of a wide planted mall spreading over the mineral ground of the new public square. Transversally, the levels are redesigned to establish a continuous slope up to the PEM where a forecourt covering the metro tracks is created.
A tree layer joins the Gèze square to the forecourt. The random plantings create "clearing" that can accommodate different uses while ensuring an important and necessary plant presence. The proposed plant palette is made up of native species or species adapted to the urban conditions of the Mediterranean zone. In order to ensure the quality and supply of all the plants, the project provides for the establishment of a cultivation contract.
Établissement public d'aménagement Euroméditerranée (EPAEM)
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste