Line 12 of the Paris Metro arrives at the heart of the Aubervilliers, between emergency aid and betting on the future

07.00, 23 May 2022

Let it go… “For each delay, I got a little more disgusted, “ says Olivier , “Because without the announced extension of the metro I would never have settled in Aubervilliers! Here’s a relief.On 31 May, line 12 will run a further 2 kilometers, 17 in total from north to south, from Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis) to Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine). Olivier, who landed in the neighborhood four years ago, makes no secret of his satisfaction. The capital is now six minutes away, Saint-Lazare station 20 – against 40 so far. “ And I must finally discover a clean, quiet city center that is no longer under constant construction! In order to bring the Aimé-Césaire and Mairie-d’Aubervilliers stations off the ground, ten years of work were needed. “ Imagine some children only felt a hole in the center, dust and noise ”Danièle Messant-Laval, president of Métr’Auber, has been campaigning since 1999 for the arrival of the 12.We are finally witnessing its inauguration, almost four and a half years late.»

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However, the tunnel was already there, dug in the first phase of the expansion and opening of the Front-Populaire station, on the edge of Saint-Denis and Aubervilliers, in 2012. But not the two new stations. “The difficulties followed each other, for an extraordinary place. It was carried out in a dense urban fabric and under a very busy old national road, without ever interrupting the traffic or experiencing the slightest expropriation.“, Emphasizes Tony Mailly, Project Manager for RATP. A project that suffered from a false start and an arrival in the midst of a pandemic.

A new 300 meter long station

Meanwhile, achallenge»Geologist was invited to the site. Water infiltrations along the walls of the future stations posed a risk of land subsidence. “The route is located in the middle of the water table with 15 meters of water overhead“Summarizes Tony Mailly. Therefore, it is necessary to resort to freezing the soil outside the tunnel in three places by first injecting brine and then a mixture of brine and liquid nitrogen.”a fairly new solution, which therefore had to be tested first“. These complications explain why the investment budget went from 175 to 240 million euros.

It’s a bit like Montreuil twenty years ago

20 meters underground, between the current terminus (Front-Populaire) and the next, “the white stepsHave been following each other since the beginning of May. “After dropping off the passengers, we continue the trip empty. This allows us to get used to the new section, control the speed and stops at stations or even familiarize ourselves with the LED indicators, which are much more dazzling than on the rest of the journey.says Betty, a 12-year-old driver for ten years. A rehearsal that enabled him to discover the huge Mairie-d’Aubervilliers station, 300 meters long, similar to an RER station. Brand new setting – the 1967 trains runs again a few laps.Their replacements are expected from 2028.

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Before that, by 2024, IDF Mobilités (IDFM) is striving to return to the pre-Covid rhythm and to welcome nearly 40,000 extra passengers every day. That is a 15% increase in traffic. “Never before has the network experienced such an unprecedented upheaval, so many investments, line extensions – 12, 13, 14, soon the 11 -, modernization of trains, renewal of workshops and signaling, explains Laurent Probst, CEO of IDFM. We are betting on the long term, therefore maintaining investment and strengthening the offer despite the crisis.»

Aubervilliers is preparing for other developments

And on the surface, what about the metro effect on real estate? Aubervilliers, which is cheaper than its neighbors, has compensated for its delay and has fallen to 4,300 euros per square meter for 6,450 euros in Pantin and 6,700 euros in Saint-Ouen. “Prices have foreseen the arrival of the metro. And this has accelerated over the last two years – with a jump of + 20% – and the health crisis, which has pushed the Parisians to seek greatersays Julie Rivet, director of Orpi Immobilier. “It’s a bit like Montreuil twenty years ago, a bet on the future, where there is still a lack of quality shops – cheesemaker, sommelier… – and neighborhood life.»

An image of a “college town” that Karine Franclet, the mayor (UDI), is striving to break. “The arrival of the metro changes the game for the heart of the city as well as for the appeal of the Saint-Denis canal [desservi par Aimé-Césaire]. It must now be accompanied by other developments, such as increased pedestrian placement around the market by 2030, exemption from empty premises for setting up grocery stores or even support for homeowner projects. .In the municipality with 90,000 inhabitants, the construction of 1,560 housing units was started last year.

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If this enlargement is a promise of easier access to Paris, “it works both ways “, Danièle Messant-Laval remarks mischievously. “From now on, the dynamic student population on the Condorcet campus – especially EHESS, located on the Front-Populaire – will only have to extend their journey by two stations to enjoy an arthouse cinema, La Commune theater, L ‘Embarcadère performance hall or swimming pool.What to finally get the city center on the right track?

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