Paris mayor imposes speed limit of 30km/h on most of the city’s streets

Paris mayor imposes speed limit of 30km/h on most of the city's streets
Photo: MARTIN BUREAU / AFP.
Paris has imposed a speed limit of 30km/h on nearly all streets from Monday in a bid to reduce accidents and noise pollution while "adapting" the city for the fight against climate change.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist who is weighing a run for the presidency next year, has pledged to reduce the amount of public space dedicated to cars in one of Europe’s densest cities.

From Monday, only the périphérique – the main ring road surrounding Paris – and major boulevards and arteries including the Champs-Elysées allow speeds above 30km/h (18mph).

Around 60 per cent of the capital’s streets are already subject to the speed limit, and since Hidalgo took office in 2016 many others have been reduced to single lanes or turned over entirely to pedestrians. Many of the capital’s suburbs have followed suit, imposing their own 30 km/h limit on residential streets.

Hidalgo had previously pledged to reduce the speed limit on the périphérique ring road to 50 km/h, but for now it will remain 70 km/h.

According to the local transport statistics agency, the average speed when driving in central Paris between 7am and 9pm is 11.6 km/h, and 30.9 km/h on the ring road.

ANALYSIS How much will the 30km/h limit really change Paris?

“The point is to reduce the space taken by cars, which involves lowering their speeds,” deputy mayor David Belliard said, making streets safer cyclists and pedestrians.

READ ALSO Central Paris could be almost car free by 2022

Announced in July, the measure comes as Hidalgo pushes ahead with plans to remove 60,000 of the city’s roughly 140,000 street-level parking spaces.

Motorcycles and scooters, which have been allowed to park free, will also have to start paying next year, when hourly parking rates for automobiles will also rise.

And also next year, most vehicles will be banned outright from the Paris Centre district – the first four arrondissements of the capital including the two islands on the Seine river and the narrow streets of the Marais.

READ ALSO Scooters and cycle lanes – has Paris become less safe for pedestrians?

Hidalgo’s critics accuse her of anti-car policies that have generated massive traffic headaches for residents as well as for millions of people who live in the suburbs but need cars for working in the capital, although she was re-elected with a comfortable margin in June 2020 on a platform of continuing and expanding her green policies.

The mayor is also confronting a wave of criticism that the city has become dingier on her watch, via a social media campaign with the hashtag #saccageparis (Trashed Paris).

OPINION: The real ‘trashing’ of Paris is not cycle lanes and benches but gentrification

In July officials laid out eight measures to spruce up one of the world’s most visited cities and Hidalgo has promised to double annual spending on cleaning during her second term to one billion euros.


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