paris mayor plans to pedestrianise city centre

Paris mayor plans to pedestrianise city centre

Central ParisImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Parts of central Paris – including the area around the Notre Dame Cathedral – could be closed to traffic

The Mayor of Paris has plans to pedestrianise the centre of the French capital, which includes landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral, reports say.

The plans would severely restrict traffic in the city’s first four districts, known as arrondissements, with electric shuttles brought in as an alternative, AFP reported.

It would happen in Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s next term, assuming she is re-elected.

She has made reducing pollution a central part of her policy.

Last month the European Environment Agency warned that air pollution caused 500,000 premature deaths in Europe every year.

Traffic is currently limited in the central arrondissements on one Sunday a month.

Ms Hidalgo also says she wants to expand this scheme – known as “Paris breathes” – to every Sunday by next year.

The mayor, who took office in 2014, has not yet announced whether she will stand for re-election.

Image copyright City of Paris
Image caption Traffic is currently restricted in the central area one Sunday a month

On Wednesday Ms Hidalgo said the arrondissements themselves proposed full pedestrianisation based on feedback from residents, Cnews reported.

Initial proposals for full pedestrianisation will be presented at council sessions in each of the four arrondissements next week, reports say.

Members of Ms Hidalgo’s team told Cnews that the combined area to be pedestrianised was “small and sufficiently served by public transport” for the scheme to work.

However some have criticised the proposal.

Dominique Reynié, a professor at the prestigious Sciences-Po university, tweeted that Paris was “closing in on itself in a kind of appropriation to the benefit of a small group of people who have been persuaded to have an ecologist outlook”.

Earlier this month a court ruled in favour of Ms Hidalgo’s policy of turning a road next to the River Seine into a car-free promenade. The scheme had been broadly opposed by right-wingers including Valérie Pécresse, president of the wider Paris region.

Last month France said it was considering introducing congestion charges for vehicles in cities to fight congestion and pollution.