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Paris mayor plans new clampdown on cars in city center

PARIS: Car traffic will be drastically reduced in the heart of Paris next year under a plan by the city’s mayor, the latest step in her goal of greening one of the densest urban landscapes in Europe.
Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist politician who is eyeing a bid for the presidency next year, announced a public consultation on the project Wednesday that will last until the month of October.
It would ban most vehicles from the Paris Centre district, formerly the first four arrondissements of the capital that includes the two islands on the Seine river and the winding narrow streets of the Marais.
The zone would also extend across a large swath of the historic Left Bank and its Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighbourhood, the chic haunt of Paris’ intellectual elite.
“This isn’t about eliminating all traffic” and there is no plan for a congestion charge, said David Belliard, the Greens deputy mayor in charge of transport.
“Residents, vehicles for the disabled, taxis, professionals and shop owners will still be able to enter,” he said.
Officials have not yet decided if motorcycles or tourist buses will be allowed inside a zone that encompasses landmarks such as Notre-Dame cathedral and the Louvre museum.
Hidalgo easily won re-election last year with promises of tackling pollution by building new bus and cycle lanes and reclaiming many roads for pedestrians, including the expressways on the banks of the Seine.
But critics accuse her of anti-car policies that cause huge traffic headaches for residents as well as millions of people living in suburbs with no viable public transport options for getting to work in the city.
Aurelien Veron, a rightwing opponent on the city council, denounced the public consultation as a “foregone conclusion,” saying Hidalgo “is basically asking drivers if they want to be eaten roasted or boiled.” | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.