Paris steps up fight against road pollution

Paris has stepped up its fight against road pollution. Mayor Anne Hildago has announced plans to pedestrianise large areas of the city centre as they become increasingly choked with traffic and harmful […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Paris has stepped up its fight against road pollution.

Mayor Anne Hildago has announced plans to pedestrianise large areas of the city centre as they become increasingly choked with traffic and harmful emissions, especially from diesel engines.

She plans to boost cycling infrastructure by doubling the city’s cycle lanes by 2020. The Rue de Rivoli, one of the city’s most famous streets, will become home to a two-way cycle line stretching over four kilometres.

The space for cars on such roads will be halved as areas are put back in the hands of walkers, cyclists and shoppers.

Private cars will be banned from the area outside the Louvre and other areas will see traffic limited to residents, public transport and local businesses only.

In a recent speech, the Mayor said: “The idea is to go step by step towards the pedestrianisation of the city centre. 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.”

In the past 15 years, the city has seen private car traffic fall by about a third, following the introduction of bike sharing and electric car sharing schemes.

The announcement follows the permanent closure of a 3.3km stretch of road next to the Seine along which 43,000 vehicles previously passed each day.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently announced the introduction of 10 new Low Emission Bus Zones.