Mayor wants to ban diesel vehicles in central Paris
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Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo revealed plans on Sunday to ban diesel vehicles in the French capital entirely by 2020 and to limit the number of cars allowed in an effort to curtail pollution in the city centre.
"In the four central districts – apart from bikes, buses and taxis – the only vehicles allowed will be residents' cars, delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles," Hidalgo said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche weekly.
Hidalgo said the proposed limits would at first apply only on weekends, but they could then be "quickly" extended to the rest of the week.
"I want diesel cars out of Paris by 2020 and, if possible, beyond the périphérique," said the mayor, referring to the ring road that encircles Paris.
Hidalgo said that car ownership in the city was already on the decline. "Today, 60 percent of Parisians don't have their own car whereas in 2011, it was 40 percent. It's moving quickly," she said.
Central Paris has a relatively high population density in European terms, and tourists are often surprised by the traffic levels in and around the historic sights of the world's most-visited city.
After dangerously high levels of air pollution were reported in March, Paris introduced a system of “alternating traffic” whereby residents were restricted to using their vehicles only on alternate days, which were determined by their licence plate numbers. Thousands of people ignored the restrictions and were fined.
Limiting major thoroughfares
Hidalgo said she wanted to limit traffic on some of the most polluted streets – like the iconic but busy Champs-Elysées – to "clean vehicles" only.
As an "experimental" measure, she suggested allowing only very low-emissions cars on these major thoroughfares.
Hidalgo also intends to extend the zones where the speed limit is fixed at 30 kilometres (18 miles) an hour so that it becomes "the norm in Paris".
"Driving at 50 kilometres per hour on the main arterial roads would become the exception," she said.
And in a bid to get people out of their cars and onto bikes, the mayor said the number of cycle lanes will be doubled by 2020 as part of a €100 million bike route development plan.
The plan will be discussed in the Town Hall on February 9.
Top city transport official Christophe Najdovski said last month that there would be restrictions on the most polluting cars in central Paris starting from mid-2015.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)