The mayor of Paris has been declaring war on cars for some time now. The environmental zone is becoming stricter and stricter and will soon prohibit even the newest diesel vehicles from entering. In addition, more and more car-free zones are being created and the expansion of cycle paths and footpaths is taking more and more space away from vehicles. Now almost all of Paris is to become a 30 km/h zone.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party), is making things more and more difficult for drivers in the French capital. From August, most of the city's streets are to become 30 km/h zones. Only some connecting roads and larger boulevards will continue to allow 50 km/h speed limits. The measure is intended to make the streets safer and reduce the number of serious traffic accidents. The mayor also hopes for a significant reduction in traffic noise.
Previously, Hidalgo had already closed many streets completely to vehicles, taking more and more space away from them in many parts of the city to give it back to bicycles and pedestrians. On the first Sunday of every month, most of the city is also closed to cars so that festivals and events can take place on the streets and people can experience a Paris without congested streets. The rules of the low emission zone are also becoming stricter. From the beginning of next year, sticker 3 will be banned first. From January 2024, the category 2 sticker will then also be banned. This means de facto that no diesel vehicles will then be allowed to enter at all. Most vans and trucks will then be forced to switch to electric.
While many citizens already support the change in the city, working people in particular are strongly affected by the measures and sharply criticise them. Craftsmen, who for economic reasons depend on getting to their next appointment quickly, fear losses due to the speed limit. Taxi drivers also speak of losses of up to 40%, as they will have to take the hourly rate instead of the kilometre rate at the low speed. Economic activity in the city could also suffer from the changes, fears Francis Palombi, president of the confédération des commerçants de France, for example.
Advocates of the 30 km/h speed limit cite the fact that the average speed in Paris is about 15 km/h. A reduced speed would improve economic activity in the city. A reduced speed would ensure a better traffic flow, so that road users would reach their destination faster overall.
The new regulation seems to be another example of the scepticism of citizens who cannot imagine that the speed limit would make traffic flow more smoothly, the streets safer, quieter and the air in Paris cleaner and thus more liveable. Only when the radical mayor pushes through the changes, even against the will of some citizens, will they realise that the measure can indeed bring benefits.