On September 27, absolutely NO traffic - except emergency vehicles - will be permitted to drive on the streets in Paris.
Can you imagine a large city – such as New York or Paris – without a single car on the streets? It’s difficult to envision, but it will be a reality in Paris for one day this year!
As Forbes reports, a movement called “Paris San Voiture,” or “Paris Without A Car,” will not permit any vehicles on the streets of Paris for twenty-four hours this September. Instead, people will be encouraged to roam free and check out the music festivals and other events planned throughout the day.
“Teach your children to ride a bike, and let go of their hands safely if they want to draw a giant hopscotch,” the website reads (translated from French into English).
This is the first time in the city’s history that such an event will take place. The City Hall calls it a “crazy gamble, but achievable.” While no motorized vehicles will be allowed to drive the streets, emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, of course, are an exception.
The city’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced in March:
“Paris will be completely transformed for a day. This is an opportunity for Parisians and tourists to enjoy the city without noise, pollution and therefore without stress.”
The ‘Day Without A Car’ is part of the city’s campaign against pollution and is in line with the European Mobility Week that takes place in Paris from September 16 to 22. The United Nations conference on the climate (COP 21) will also be held in Paris in late November.
France is exampling sustainable change in countless ways. Earlier this year, the country made it illegal for grocery stores to purposefully waste food. And shortly after, the instigator behind that movement announced his intentions to make the law go global! That’s not all: France is also offering residents €10,000 to switch to a hybrid vehicle, and also passed a law earlier this year mandating all new roofs to install solar or host a green garden.
“Our city has to establish an exemplary signal responding to global issues,” says the non-profit environmental group Paris Sans Voiture, in support of the initiative. “But it also has to respond to local issues after record peaks of pollution and climate challenges that are more than ever at the heart of everyday life. The car-free day, by its magnitude, will also leave a lasting mark on the collective imagination: Everyone can project a city more livable, adopt sustainable behaviors, particularly in terms of mobility and the sharing of public spaces.”
Paris is not the only city to institute a ‘Day Without Cars’. Montreal, Bogota, Mexico City, Ho Chi Minh City and Brussels have all adopted similar programs, some of them permanently and some partially, closing certain streets and encouraging bike riding.
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