Paris’ Car-Free Day Was A Massive Success!


Last month, TrueActivist shared news of Paris’ plan to go car-free for an entire day in September. Now that the 27th has passed and individuals present in the city of lights had the opportunity to enjoy Paris without cars, it turns out pretty much everyone enjoyed the experience. 

As TheGuardian reports, Paris experienced its first ever car-free day where cars were banned from the city’s main areas between 11 am and 6 pm. The roads, which are normally packed with automobiles, were empty, allowing cyclists, rollerbladers, and pedestrians to transit the city in a quiet and less-polluted environment.

The city’s major, Anne HIdalgo, launched the event with the intention to lower carbon emissions in the city where most cars run on diesel. Part of her plan as mayor is to completely eradicate diesel use by 2020 in Paris and extend car-free areas along the Seine.

By hosting the city’s first car-free day, she hoped to show people they “are not obliged to move around in a personal car, there are other ways to approach mobility in a city.” Wonderfully, thousands of people complied with the initiative and had a good time doing so.

People shared their unique experiences on social media with the hashtag #ParisSansVoiture, and captured some unique and uncommon sights. For example, Remy Buisine tweeted a photo of a soccer game in one of the most famous Paris streets with the caption: “A game of football on the Champs Elysees. Unusual image and friendly spirit. Very nice. #parissansvoituress #psgwater.” 

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In addition, over 100 individuals did yoga in the middle of Place de Chatelet, many held picnics on the side of Champs Elysees, and large groups of cyclists took to the streets.

“Another city is possible. #Parissansvoiture,” posted Papilles d’Olive next to a photo of a calm street where pedestrians strolled.

Credit: The Guardian
Credit: The Guardian

Parisians not only experienced a less-stressful atmosphere, they witnessed a decrease of 20-40% of carbon emissions in the city center and 42% less traffic. 

“I live high in a tower block in the east of the city and looking out of my window today I saw the difference straight away: the sky has never been this blue, it really is different without a hazy layer of pollution hanging in the air,” said Elisabeth Pagnec, a Parisian who partook in the event by cycling from one end of the city to the other without a helmet.

Amazingly, the city’s bicycle sharing program, Vélib’, also hit a record of 144,089 bikes rented – a 32% increase from a regular weekend.

Hopefully this initiative catches on and is carried out in other cities across the globe.

What are your thoughts? Comment below and share this positive news! 

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