Authorities in the French capital of Paris are forcing drivers to slow down, setting a speed limit on almost all the city’s roads, in a bid to reduce pollution and improve road safety.
The rule limits drivers to 30 kilometers per hour.
Some critics say it will worsen the city’s rush-hour traffic jams and could even increase greenhouse gas emissions.
That will depend partly on whether drivers get so fed up with the speed limit that they choose to commute in other ways.
To further dissuade drivers from taking vehicles into the city, authorities are also getting rid of 60,000 of Paris’ 144,000 parking spaces on public roads to make them “more accessible to everyone,” and will better utilize underground parking.
Some sidewalks will be widened — allowing more walking space, as well as trees and plants — and new cycle lanes will be installed.
Parisian Deputy Mayor David Belliard, who is responsible for transport, told BFMTV that the hope was the limit would put more people off driving altogether and encourage more walking, use of public transport and bikes.
City Hall officials said that the change would reduce total road accidents by an estimated 25% and fatal accidents by 40%, pointing to a World Health Organization study.
Noise pollution will also halve, they estimate, saying that traffic noise had negative physical and psychological impacts, including stress, insomnia and depression.
The rule change follows a public consultation held in October and November 2020, involving more than 5,700 people.