Initially, the ban was due to start this year, but there have been delays and it is expected to come into effect in 2024, when Paris will host the Olympics.
It is expected that the historic center of Paris will be banned from driving until the beginning of 2024. The main reason, of course, is the fight against climate change and ambitious goals to improve air quality in the French capital. 2024 marks a two-year delay from the original schedule, when the 2022 goal, announced last May by the city’s mayor and French presidential candidate, Anne Hidalgo, was set. The ban is part of a broader effort to improve the situation in the city that will host the 2024 Olympics.
The so-called “peace zone” will focus on the city’s first four boroughs, according to The Local, and will include the city’s two islands on the Seine, which include Notre Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle. City officials say the current plan is to conduct random checks of vehicles leaving the area.
Instead of banning all passenger cars, authorities will focus on transit traffic, which is expected to account for about half of the vehicles on the roads in the region. According to Deputy Mayor David Billard, truck drivers will still have access and people will still be able to drive into the area to visit friends or access various services such as stores or theaters. According to Bloomberg estimates, the ban will remove more than 100,000 cars from the roads per day.
The ban is part of a broader set of measures to reduce car numbers and pollution in Paris. Mayor Anne Hidalgo is working to make the city less dependent on car transportation and more convenient for cyclists. And so, in 2020, during the coronavirus lockdown, it created more than 100 kilometers of new bike paths in the city and banned cars from driving on some roads along the Seine.
However, the city’s transformation into a Copenhagen-style cycling city has faced increasing problems, The New York Times reports, with residents complaining that many cyclists do not comply with road traffic rules. The new network of cycle tracks has also been criticized for poor regulation. The authorities responded by increasing the number of police officers who punish cyclists who do not follow the rules and by teaching children the rules of the road better.
Paris Deputy Mayor Billiard said on Twitter that 78 percent of the 7,243 participants in the first phase of the consultation were in favor. An impact study and public discussion will now be conducted before the plan is implemented.