Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s latest effort to rein in car use and fight pollution would prevent non-residents from driving across the French capital's historic heart in 2022.
In an announcement Wednesday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo set an audacious new benchmark in her ongoing campaign to reduce car use across the French capital: a ban on most vehicle traffic crossing the city center in 2022.
The plan would stop through traffic from a large zone covering Paris’ core, to cut pollution and noise and free up more space for trees, cycle lanes and pedestrian areas. A public consultation for the plan launched this week.
The new zone would not ban cars altogether: It would still permit motorized access to the zone’s residents (including short-term hotel guests), to people with disabilities, and to vehicles used for public transit, deliveries or services. The new rules would nonetheless make it illegal to drive across the city center without stopping. That would cover about 55% of total traffic — more than 100,000 cars — passing through this zone on average per day, the city says.
The plan comes after years during which Hidalgo’s administration has systematically sought to rein in automobile use. The city has already barred heavily polluting diesel cars from within the city’s beltway, pedestrianized the Seine quayside, reduced car access on many major streets and expanded green areas and sidewalks in areas previously reserved for driving and parking. After introducing further vehicle lane closures and bike paths during the pandemic, Hidalgo has remained adamant that the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the return to workplaces must not signal a return to a streetscape dominated by cars.