Paris mayor wants more 'pedestrianized' city, doubling of bike lanes, and diesel ban by 2020

Paris Smog Eiffel Tower
CC BY 2.0 Flickr

"Nous ne voulons plus de diesel à Paris"

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has called for big changes to The City of Light that that would make it a healthier and more livable place. At the top of her wishlist are more pedestrianized areas in the city and a doubling of bike lanes, along with a goal that will certainly prove to be controversial: A total ban on diesel cars in Paris by 2020.

This is quite a reversal since over the past decades Europe has bet big on diesel to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce oil imports. Now they're finding that even with modern anti-pollution technologies, diesel vehicles are still problematic for air quality, especially in densely populated urban areas. Even if particulate matter pollution (PM) can be reduced by a lot with proper exhaust treatment, diesel still emits a lot more nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is especially bad for those with pulmonary problems, and with recent studies showing a link between diesel and lung cancer...

Several European nations are currently in breach of EU clean air laws.

The EU’s NO2 limit was exceeded at 301 sites in 2012, including seven in London. The concentration on Marylebone Road was more than double the limit.

Districts in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Paris, and Rome are also exceeded the ceiling. (source)

Mayor Hidalgo would like to see streets like rue de Rivoli or les Champs-Élysées reserved to "ultra-low emission vehicles", and that 4 of the central arrondissements could be transformed into vast semi-pedestrian zones. There would also be limits on how many tourist buses can tour the city to reduce congestion, some freight trucks would be banned from going through the city, and electric vans would be added to the city's car-sharing program.

"Today 60% of Parisians already do not have cars, compared with 40% in 2001. Things are changing quickly," said Hidalgo.

Paris SmogFlickr/CC BY 2.0

The anti-pollution plan would also include incentives for the scrapping of older diesel vehicles, which can pollute way more than more recent models.

Some 84% of Paris residents see fighting pollution as a priority and 54% supported a diesel ban in the city by 2020, according a poll carried out for the Journal du Dimanche.
Via Le JDD (in French), BBC

Paris mayor wants more 'pedestrianized' city, doubling of bike lanes, and diesel ban by 2020
Bold plan to tackle a serious public health and environmental problem. WIll it work?

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