People on bikes on car-free Seine. Photo credit: William Lee-Wright
Mayor of Paris, France, Bertrand Delanoe wants his city to live up to its reputation as a relaxed, picturesque oasis but there’s only one problem– there’s too much traffic. So what’s the course of action to change this? Heavily restricted car use.
Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reported the city’s bold action, noting Paris is perhaps more car crazy than one thinks when imagining people enjoying sidewalk dining on a pedestrian friendly Parisian boulevard:
Modern cities have becomes slaves to the automobile and Paris is no exception. Traffic jams, internal combustion engine and the car horn are as ubiquitous in Paris as they are anywhere. But change is afoot; the petrol powered dreams of the past are choking on their own noxious fumes and a newer, greener, more pedestrian friendly future is being attempted.
The decision to ban cars is part of a greater effort to encourage walking and cycling and make the banks of the Seine River a desirable spot in the city. Mayor Delanoe states simply:
It doesn’t make any sense that for several decades the banks of de Seine have been inaccessible to pedestrians.
Unlike North America cities, Paris, and much of Europe, was developed long before the advent of the automobile and so Delanoe wants to restore lost pedestrian access and reverse decisions in the 1960’s that made the city more car friendly at the expense of travel by foot.