It was back in March that the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo announced that the city would have a day without cars in the future to mark a symbolic struggle against emissions. It wasn’t until recently that this idea was put into practice. For 24 hours, some of the busiest streets of the French capital will be shut down for regular traffic on September 27th, 2015. Instead, people will zoom around in bicycles and take a casual stroll in the middle of these roads that would be even impossible to cross in ordinary days. It was a widely acclaimed social activity for the French as the European Union gears up to promote the use of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles on their roads.
The new car restrictions would be placed on 27 September, and only a few categories like Emergency services, school buses, etc. will be exempted from the new laws. This was a much-needed step since the air pollution in the historic city has been increasing due to emissions from these older engines.
Mayor Hidalgo had been in pursuit of ambitious ideas to curb traffic and air pollution in Paris since assuming her office. She wants to reduce them drastically by the end of 2020. One way to do that was to increase public awareness and let people know what kind of place their city would become if it were freed of unnecessary cars emitting greenhouse gases. Since Paris heavily relies on tourism, it would be a difficult task for the administration to make it possible as the Mayor wants to see the city become semi-pedestrianised by 2020 as well. With increased regulations on city’s roads, people are becoming aware and irritated at the same time because nobody wants extra rules enforced.
To change the public opinion in her plan’s favour, the mayor intends to promulgate these new set of laws on the weekend only, before continuing them on weekdays as well. She pointed out that the stats are in her favour since the number of people relying on personal cars is dropping in and around the city. The admin is also working hard to double the cycling lanes in the city that could drive these numbers further down and encourage public transport!