Central Paris could be almost car free by 2022

As part of its strategy to reduce traffic in the French capital, the Paris city council has announced plans to introduce a 'low traffic zone' in the centre of the city by 2022. A consultation with residents was launched on Wednesday.

Central Paris could be almost car free by 2022
The Paris City Council is planning on implementing a low traffic zone in the centre of the city that will drastically reduce car traffic. Photo: Christophe ARCHAMBAULT/AFP

The Paris city council is launching a consultation with residents about implementing a low traffic zone or zone apeisée in the centre of the city – a measure that already exists in other European and French cities like Lille and Nantes.

The objective is to drastically reduce traffic in an area comprising the city’s four central arrondissements and part of the 5th, 6th and 7th, by 2022.

This would mean that only “residents, buses, taxis but also artisans, professionals and delivery trucks will be allowed to circulate in this perimeter,” Paris’s deputy mayor David Belliard told Le Parisien newspaper. However, the exact details of who will be allowed to enter the low traffic zone are still to be defined during the consultation. Parisians can participate by answering a questionnaire on the city’s website.

The objective is to “give priority and safety to pedestrians and cyclists, reduce pollution and noise,” Belliard said, adding that the reduction of traffic on the Rue de Rivoli, one of Paris’s main commercial streets which now has been turned into a multi-lane biking highway, “led to a reduction of 2,2 decibels.”

The creation of a low traffic zone fits into Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s broader strategy to reduce air pollution and make Paris a leading cycling capital. It’s also aligned with efforts to reduce the amount of car traffic around schools.

READ ALSO: “It’s not yet Amsterdam”: What Paris must do to be a world leading cycling capital

When the first 3-month coronavirus lockdown ended a year ago, Paris city officials created 50 kilometers of coronapistes (coronavirus cycle lanes). The move was initially temporary, but Mayor Anne Hidalgo later announced she would make them permanent in the autumn.

Member comments

  1. They should be really progressive. Close the peripherique and ban cars (including residents, except electric disabled vehicles) within the peripherique. The peripherieque itself should be a bicycle lane, green walkway and tram route. Improved (free) car parks at RER stations outside the ring, especially at terminals

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro