Paris cuts its speed limit to 30 kph in bid to protect climate

Cars drive on the Champs Elysee avenue, Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Paris.
Cars drive on the Champs Elysee avenue, Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Paris. Copyright AP Photo/Christophe Ena
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Polls suggest most Parisians support the idea.


No more speeding past the Eiffel Tower!

From today the speed limit on nearly all streets of Paris is just 30 kph, down from 50 kph.

It’s the latest move by the French capital to polish its climate credentials and transform people’s relationship to their vehicles. 

City officials say it’s also aimed at reducing accidents and making Paris more pedestrian-friendly.

Car owners are fuming. Delivery drivers say it will create longer wait times for customers. Taxi drivers say it will drive up rates and hurt business.

But polls suggest most Parisians support the idea, notably in the hope that it makes the streets safer and quieter.

Already, cyclists often move faster than cars in the densely populated French capital. And only action stars like Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible” can realistically pick up speed on winding, medieval Parisian streets that are barely more than one car wide.

The new rule includes exceptions for a handful of wide avenues including the famed Champs-Elysees and the bypass circling the historical capital.

Under Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Paris city government has already restricted or banned vehicle traffic on several streets and multiplied the number of bike lanes.

Some other French cities and towns have also limited speeds to 30 kph.

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