Paris to extend 30 kph speed limit to most streets

·2-min read
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pledged to reduce the amount of public space dedicated to cars in one of Europe's densest cities

Paris will impose a speed limit of 30 kph (19 mph) on nearly all streets by late August in a bid to reduce accidents and noise pollution while "adapting" the city for the fight against climate change, an official said Thursday.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist who is weighing a run for the presidency next year, has pledged to reduce the amount of public space dedicated to cars in one of Europe's densest cities.

Already around 60 percent of the capital's streets have 30 kph limits, and since Hidalgo took office in 2016 many others have been reduced to single lanes or turned over entirely to pedestrians.

After August, only the main ring road surrounding Paris and major boulevards and arteries will allow higher speeds, Greens deputy mayor in charge of transports David Belliard told AFP.

"The point is to reduce the space taken by cars, which involves lowering their speeds," he said, making streets safer cyclists and pedestrians.

The move comes as Hidalgo pushes ahead with plans to remove 60,000 of the city's roughly 140,000 street-level parking spaces.

Motorcycles and scooters, which have been allowed to park free, will also have to start paying next year, when hourly parking rates for automobiles will also rise.

And also next year, most vehicles will be banned outright from the Paris Centre district -- the first four arrondissements of the capital including the two islands on the Seine river and the narrow streets of the Marais.

Hidalgo's critics accuse her of anti-car policies that have generated massive traffic headaches for residents as well as for millions of people who live in the suburbs but need cars for working in the capital.

The mayor is also confronting a wave of criticism that the city has become dingier on her watch, via a social media campaign with the hashtag #saccageparis (Trashed Paris).

This week, officials laid out eight measures to spruce up one of the world's most visited cities and Hidalgo has promised to double annual spending on cleaning during her second term to one billion euros ($1.2 billion).

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