Paris mayor unveils new plans to permanently pedestrianise city centre

Anne Hildalgo says she is 'acting for future generations' and rejects 'nostalgia' for the car

Caroline Mortimer
Sunday 08 January 2017 21:47 GMT
A picture taken on December 5, 2016 in Paris shows the Eiffel tower in the smog
A picture taken on December 5, 2016 in Paris shows the Eiffel tower in the smog (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

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The mayor of Paris has unveiled new plans to further restrict traffic in the city in a bid to fight pollution.

Anne Hildalgo announced the move, which aims to halve the number of private cars on the road, months after 3.3km of road along the Seine were closed due to a dangerous spike in pollution which caused a cloud of smog to settle over the city.

Speaking to French newspaper the Journal du Dimanche she said the plans were part of her campaign to “reconquer the public space” for pedestrians and cyclists.

Paris make public transport free because of air pollution

She said the capital’s current road infrastructure, which is built around cars, is “archaic” and believes there is an “environmental urgency” to act.

Under the plans a 1km stretch of road along the river from Place de la Concorde and the Pont Royal will be closed and traffic will also be restricted on two main roads running east to west – the upper highway on the right bank and the rue de Rivoli.

Ms Hidalgo also has plans for an electric tram service running from City Hall to Saint Cloud park as part of the city’s bid to host the Olympics in 2024.

The news will anger car users in the city as well as her political opponents who warn of lengthy traffic jams which will increase pollution.

The left-wing mayor said she was “acting for future generations” and would not be cowed by “nostalgia” for cars.

She said: “The idea is to go step by step towards the pedestrianisation of the city centre. It will remain open to vehicles belonging to local residents, the police, emergency services and for deliveries, but not to all comers.

“We say clearly that our aim is the significant reduction in car traffic, as all the world’s large cities are doing. We must constantly remind people: the fewer cars there are, the less pollution there is.”

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