Paris mayor ramps up war on polluting cars

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has revealed her latest plans to pedestrianise the French capital.

Paris mayor ramps up war on polluting cars
Photo: Céline Orsinger/JDD
It's no secret that Hidalgo wants a greener Paris, and she made it even clearer on Sunday in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper
She said that she aimed to “halve the number of polluting private cars” on the roads in a bid to “reconquer the public space” for pedestrians.
She added that she wanted to restrict traffic on the rue de Rivoli (pictured above), which cuts along the city from east to west.
A sketch published in the paper showed that the road, which is currently a one-way street for west-bound traffic, would be transformed to two-way traffic and two-way bike lanes. 
“This is a very commercial roadway that has suffered from all the traffic – it's noisy, polluted, and the pedestrian crossings are often complicated and even dangerous,” she told the paper.
Her plan is to eventually have the city centre “car-free”, meaning that only emergency services, residents, or electric vehicles, and delivery drivers would be allowed inside. 
The City Hall is also developing plans for a new tramway to run alongside the North Bank of the Seine, a line which is planned to open in 2018 (see image below).
Hidalgo said on Sunday that the plan was to launch the line in September 2018, naming the project the “Olympic tramline”, as it is hoped the move would make Paris a more attractive host for the 2024 Olympic Games. 
The new tram line will mean closing off traffic on the upper highway of the Seine's Right Bank, although it remains unknown when this will happen. 
Motorists groups have long been irked by Hidalgo's plans, urging people to sign a petition when she closed down over 3 kilometres of roadway on the Right Bank of the River Seine during the summer.
While the petition garnered tens of thousands of signatures, Hidalgo has sworn to continue undeterred. 
“The deluge is imminent and we cannot wait for it to sweep us all away,” she said in her annual new year speech. 
“There are simply too many cars in Paris.”
Pollution in France, especially in Paris, has been a major public health concern, especially last month when a series of pollution spikes saw authorities make public transport free. 
It is estimated that fine-particle pollution causes 48,000 premature deaths a year in France.

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