Sixty percent vehicles in Paris run on diesel, and the city is struggling to curb emissions—banning half its cars for a day, making public transport and bike shares free for a weekend, and pedestrianizing large swathes of the urban grid. Now, a new proposal by Mayor Anne Hidalgo will cap the speed limit at 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) per hour. For the entire city.
World Streets reports that apart from a couple major thoroughfares, once the plan is approved most everyone within the perimeter ring road will have to slooow waaay dooown. Reducing the speed limit is expected to decrease accidents. The standardization would knock out any confusion over how fast is too fast from street to street, and in some ways it won't be too much of a striking downshift; last year, almost one-third of the city was already in the 30 kilometer per hour zone.
Will it reduce emissions? Possibly, but the lower output from lower speeds could be negated by the increased time on the road. Will it make driving through Paris a chilled out, leisurely ride, free from traffic noise and aggressive road ragers? Anything is possible! If anyone's had experience cruising through the City of Light at 20mph—or has predictions on how this will impact pollution—let us know below. [World Streets via Archinect]
Image credit: AP Photo/Jacques Brinon