Here's what happened when Paris banned cars for a day



Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

People walk through the streets during the car-free day.

This past spring, Paris hit an unenviable milestone: for a day, its air pollution was worse than any other city in the world. That distinction didn't last, but the city still has an air quality problem where every so often, pollution spikes to intolerable levels.

For one day this weekend, residents got a reprieve. On Sunday, Paris banned cars in much of the city center, with exceptions for emergency vehicles, residents, taxis, and buses. Here's a video of what it looked like, courtesy of the Guardian:

 And here's a map of the closures, which lasted from 11 AM to 6 PM:


paris map

La Journeé sans Voiture

The street closures were symbolica lead in to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which is coming to Paris in November.

But as other European cities, like Milan, Italy and Madrid, Spain, think about creating car-free zones, it's not unthinkable that Paris could eventually create more car-free zones and in fact, the city is already considering it, with plans to limit traffic and increase the number of bike lanes in the next few years.

Since 60% of residents don't own a car, the move towards a car-free city would be more than welcome.

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