Plethora of motorized vehicles and a whole lot of air and noise pollution has been playing its part in dwindling the natural and aesthetic beauty of cities and countrysides alike. The city of love, Paris has also bore the brunt of this ghastly increase in motorised vehicles. In a bid to counter that, the authorities at Paris have been celebrating “Journée sans voitures”, which is a law forbidding the movement of any motorised vehicles in the city. This will be the second edition of this “event”, and it will be celebrated on Sunday, September 25 in 2016.
On this day, any motorized vehicle running from 11am to 6pm will be penalized. Last year the jurisdiction covered a smaller area, but this time, it has been expanded to essentially cover every neighbourhood – known as arrondissements – of the French capital. During this time only pedestrians, bicycles, delivery tricycles, peddled scooters, skateboards and rollerblades will be allowed on the streets.
With this ban enforced, the people of Paris region and visitors will be allowed to rediscover their city without the hassle and pollution caused by vehicles. The people will have a peaceful and breathable city with 648.15 kilometers of car-free roads making up 45% of the city area, and they will be able to truly enjoy the peace and serenity of this glorious city along with many fun and educational activities planned throughout the day.
With this motivation, the practice has been repeated for the second year in a row in order to increase citizens’ awareness about reducing usage of cars, and also to put light on developing wholesome measures to fight traffic-related pollution. The day emphasizes the need to rethink mobility issues, and to reclaim the public spaces. And this year by expanding the scope and the area of the enforced ban, the authorities have showed greater motivation towards achieving these goals.
All the outdoor programs and activities on this day will be free of charge for locals and tourists alike. The car-free day is part of larger Paris initiative to improve the quality of the air in the city and to reduce automobile usage. The measures includes banning cars along the Champs-Élysées every month on the first Sunday, along with nine new areas added to the 13 old ones called “Paris breathes”, which prohibit traffic movement on Sundays and public holidays. The measure has seen a lot of criticism particularly due to the ban on all vehicles registered before January 1, 1997, and all motorcycles registered before 1999 from the city’s limits, from 8am to 8pm each weekday.
The opponents of “Paris breathes” including 40 Million Motorists have sued the city asking for financial compensation for the damage suffered by the owners of banned vehicles. But the city has responded with handing out a challenge to the drivers to abandon their vehicles for the entire week preceding the event, from September 19-25. The city says that in compensation for this they can use city’s public electric cars, bicycles services and the public transportation for free during the week.
Do you think these kind of initiatives are effective in raising awareness and cutting down pollution? Or do you think they are nothing but a hassle for the majority of the people in the area? Let us know in the comments’ section below!