Paris mayor wants limits on cars in centre, end to diesel

In March 13, 2014, Paris authorities made public transport free for three days to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles behi
In March 13, 2014, Paris authorities made public transport free for three days to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles behind due to severe pollution

The mayor of Paris on Sunday laid out a plan to limit cars in the city's historic centre and said she wanted to ban diesel vehicles by 2020.

"In the four central districts, apart from bikes, buses and taxis, the only vehicles allowed will be residents' cars, delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles," Anne Hidalgo said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche weekly.

Hidalgo said the proposed anti-pollution scheme would start at weekends but could be "quickly" rolled out for the rest of the week.

"I want out of Paris by 2020 and if possible beyond the peripherique," said the mayor, referring to the constantly choked ring road around the capital.

"Today, 60 percent of Parisians don't have their own car whereas in 2011, it was 40 percent. It's moving quickly," she said.

Central Paris has a relatively high population density in European terms and tourists are often surprised by the traffic levels in and around the historic sights of the world's most visited city.

The city also experiences periodic pollution spikes forcing authorities to impose temporary speed limits on motorists and even to ban vehicles from running on certain days.

Hidalgo said she wanted to limit the traffic on some of the most polluted streets—like the iconic but traffic clogged Champs-Elysees—to "clean vehicles".

As an "experimental" measure, she suggested allowing only ultra-low emitting cars on these major thoroughfares.

She also intends to extend zones where the speed limit is fixed at 30 kilometres (18 miles) an hour so that it becomes "the norm in Paris".

"Driving at 50 kilometres per hour on the main arterial roads would become the exception," she said.

And in a bid to get people out of cars and on to bikes, the mayor said the amount of cycle lanes would be doubled by 2020 as part of a 100-million-euro bike development plan.

She said she also wanted to roll out a system of electric-powered bikes along the same lines as the city's popular velib temporary bike hire network.

The plan will be discussed in the town hall on February 9.

Top city transport official Christophe Najdovski said last month that there would be restrictions on the most polluting cars in central Paris from the middle of 2015.

During the last spike in pollution, in December 2013, the air quality was so bad, it was equivalent to heavy passive smoking, according to an expert report.

At that time, Paris authorities ordered half the cars off the road and introduced free public transport.


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Dec 07, 2014
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Dec 07, 2014
Why not go back to the horse and buggie? If you really wish to go back to the stone age.

Dec 07, 2014
Slowing down gasoline or diesel cars below about 40 kph actually increases pollution dramatically, because an engine needs a significant amount of power to itself just to operate. A modern car will use about half a liter per hour just to idle, so the amount of fuel per mile travelled increases the slower you drive.

Here's a typical example of a small European passenger car:

http://www.myengi...uel.html

The idea of restricting the amount of vehicles on the roads is good, but the idea of setting lower speed limits is completely counterproductive. They should rather try to get the traffic flowing fast enough that most people could drive 50-60 kph through the city in the minimum time over the shortest distance without unnecessary stops.


Dec 07, 2014
Why not go back to the horse and buggie? If you really wish to go back to the stone age.

Paris wouldn't be the first city to limit traffic (or outright ban it) in its city center. None of these other cities have reverted to the stone age.
Driving a car in downtwon Paris (anywhere inside the peripherique) is crazy anyhow. Finding parking spaces is next to impossible and the traffic is only something for people with strong nerves and not much regard for the occasional fender bender.

Dec 08, 2014
and the traffic is only something for people with strong nerves and not much regard for the occasional fender bender.


Although that has less to do with the amount of traffic and more to do with the drivers being, well, French.

Dec 08, 2014
The idea of restricting the amount of vehicles on the roads is good, but the idea of setting lower speed limits is completely counterproductive. They should rather try to get the traffic flowing fast enough that most people could drive 50-60 kph through the city in the minimum time over the shortest distance without unnecessary stops.

Not counterproductive; in your exacting analysis, it's just your focus is wrong.

Limiting speed causes driving to take longer. Greater number of would-be drivers will seek alternatives.

To say nothing of the intangible benefits. The City of Light would certainly be a less pleasant place to dwell if it were criss-crossed with 50+ kph highways and interchanges.

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