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City of Lights Is Now the City of Dawdling

Paris' speed limit is now about 19mph, s'il vous plait
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 30, 2021 6:47 AM CDT
City of Lights Is Now the City of Dawdling
Parisians caught in traffic jam as they drive home at evening due to the curfew from 9pm to 6am in Rocquencourt, west of Paris, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

(Newser) – No more zipping past the Eiffel Tower or through the Latin Quarter without slowing down to soak in the sights: Starting Monday, the speed limit on nearly all streets of Paris is just 30kph, or a bit less than 19mph, reports the AP. It’s the latest initiative by a city trying to burnish 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.

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But polls suggest most Parisians support the idea, notably in hopes 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 30kph.

(Read more Paris stories.)

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