People, Environment

Paris Going Car-Free on Sept. 27

Paris Going Car-Free on Sept. 27Paris Going Car-Free on Sept. 27

In a bid to encourage more sustainable transport and curb air pollution, Paris is going car-free for a day on September 27.

The move, which is aimed at raising awareness of the dangerously high levels of pollution in the city, sees Paris closing a large, contained portion of its urban core to all cars for the entire day, Gizmodo reported.

Thanks to older diesel cars and stifling summer heat, the air quality has been worse than Beijing’s on some days.

La Journeé sans Voiture (French for “car-free day”) limits cars from a substantial area that includes much of the city’s center, around landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, as well as two major parks. Of course, exceptions will be made for emergencies.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been behind a number of progressive policies when it comes to transportation, environmental reform and public space: activating vacant urban sites, encouraging sustainable architecture and providing incentives to walk or bike to work. But the car problem has been a head-scratcher.

Hidalgo aims to make the French capital “a pedestrian and bicycle paradise”.

Last year, Paris tried unsuccessfully to ban half of its cars from its streets—a plan to only let odd- or even-numbered license plates drive on alternate days was abandoned after only one day.