Mayor Anne Hidalgo is working to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians, and is even contemplating banning cars from the city centre in the long term.
Paris’ mayor Anne Hidalgo has long been considered an advocate for innovative transport concepts. As one of Germany’s largest newspaper reported, Hidalgo dreams of creating a calm city with plenty of space for cyclists and pedestrians – with nary a car in sight.
According to the French paper Le Journal du Dimanche, Hidalgo wants to cut traffic in half along the two main axes that cut across the city from east to west. Her argument: there are simply too many cars in Paris, thwarting any efforts to reduce air and noise pollution. In Hidalgo’s vision, fewer cars would mean that cyclists and pedestrians could take their city back.
Hidalgo has already done much to improve Paris’ streets for those who prefer to use their feet or bicycles to get around. Last October, she banned cars from a 3.3-kilometre-long stretch that runs along the Seine from Tuileries to Bastille. She’s now planning to turn Rue Rivoli, which runs parallel to Seine, into a bicycle boulevard. Other streets will also be closed to buses and taxis in the future.
Hidalgo is also looking at installing an electric-powered “tram-bus” line that would run in reserved lanes on the Quais Hauts on the Seine’s Right Bank and extend 11 kilometres, starting at Gare de Lyon, reported Next City. Dubbed the “Tramway Olympique”, it would relieve congestion on three nearby Metro lines and also bolster the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
According to Parisian officials, Hidalgo’s traffic policy is showing its first successes: the number of vehicles travelling the streets of downtown Paris each day has fallen from 43,000 to 36,000, according to FAZ.
All of which is good news for a city that spent days under a blanket of winter smog last month. “Paris cannot stand still. It is a matter of public health,” said the city’s deputy mayor for transport, Christophe Najdovski.