Paris Mayor Ann Hidalgo has really gone and labeled personal vehicles ‘archaic’ with the announcement of plans to ban cars on one of the main roads through city center, as the city’s efforts to pedestrianize its streets and limit pollution expand.
Here’s Hidalgo’s quote, via France 24:
Hidalgo laid out her vision in the weekly ‘Journal du Dimanche’ newspaper, going so far as to call personal vehicles “archaic.”
“The idea is to, little by little, move towards the pedestrianisation of downtown, which, over time, will stay open to public transport, police, emergency vehicles and deliveries, but not to all vehicles,” she said.
“We must constantly remember this foregone conclusion: fewer cars, less pollution,” she added.
The mayor’s plans include reducing traffic on the rue de Rivoli, which passes right by Louvre, by 50 percent to help expand bike lanes, with Hidalgo declaring this year to be the year of the bicycle in Paris.
The new plans follow the successful closure of the Seine highway in 2014, which reclaimed a stretch of riverbank for pedestrians by redirecting nearly 43,000 cars and led to a huge backlash from Paris’ local mayors.
Despite a reported “peak of pollution” that blanketed the city in smog in December, efforts to reduce pollution in Paris, partially by various efforts to ban personal vehicles in certain areas or on certain days, seem to be successful, with the city claiming 30 percent reduction over the last 15 years. Traffic in the city is also reportedly down 30 percent.
Mayor Hidalgo’s future plans include banning diesel in the city by 2020, constructing an electric tram line to begin in 2018 in anticipation for Paris’ potential bid for the 2024 Olympics, and ideas to further pedestrianize other historic districts.
Opponents to these plans aren’t thrilled, citing lack of consultation by the mayor and the city council on plans that have drastic ramifications on the areas surrounding the downtown districts.
But the reported improvements in city pollution and potentially safer, and potentially prettier, streets in the historic areas of Paris will be the driving force in keeping the Ban Cars movement alive.