Paris at 30 kmph: Citywide speed limit introduced to reduce noise and fight climate change

Published : August 31, 2021 14:47 IST

Signs are installed at the entrances of Paris to show the new speed limit. Photo: Luc Nobout/IP3press/imago images

The French capital has lowered the speed limit on most streets in a bid to curb the number of cars in the city.

A speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour (19 miles per hour) came into force on most streets in Paris on August 30. Despite some criticism, officials in the French capital said their decision was in line with a survey that showed 59 per cent of Parisians were in favor of the new speed limit. The measure is also in line with an appeal issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May, calling for strict speed limits in urban areas.

Up until August 30, around 60 per cent of Parisian streets had the 30 kmh limit. Now, it applies everywhere except main ring roads and highways.

Why is Paris introducing the speed limit?

Paris officials announced the new measure in July, saying that it was aimed at increasing traffic safety, creating more space for cyclists, reducing noise and contributing to climate protection. "The point is to reduce the space taken by cars, which involves lowering their speeds," Paris' deputy mayor, David Belliard, said.

The speed limit is one of the campaign promises made by the city's socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, before last year's local elections. Hidalgo has also expanded cycling lanes in the city, and is pushing ahead with plans to remove 60,000 of the city's roughly 140,000 street-level parking spaces.

What do critics of the speed limit say?

Critics argue that Paris' new anti-car policies would create massive traffic headaches for residents, and people who have to commute to the capital from the suburbs. The "40 millions d'automobilistes" car drivers' association also cast doubt on the measure. It argued that there were already few traffic accidents in Paris and that they mostly affected cyclists.

fb/rt (AFP, dpa)