Paris limits car speed to 30 km/hour in bid to boost safety, air quality

The city wants to encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - French authorities hope the streets of Paris will be safer, quieter and less dirty from Monday (Aug 30) as a new speed limit for drivers of 30kmh came into force.

The city wants to encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport, deputy mayor David Belliard said on franceinfo radio. The new speed limit should help reduce pollution, noise and the number of serious accidents, he said.

"This is not an anti-car measure," Belliard said.

The 30kmh limit already applies to about 60 per cent of the Paris area but will now cover the entire city. However, a few major thoroughfares such as the Champs Elysees will be exempt, with the speed limit remaining at 50kmh.

"We want to limit (vehicles) to essential travel," Belliard said.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who won a second six-year term in 2020, has built kilometres of new bike lanes, banned old diesel cars, and made the Seine quais car-free. She is also reducing parking space in the city in a bid to limit car traffic.

City hall has said police will be lenient in applying the new speed limit in the first weeks. Other French cities with a 30kmh speed limit include Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Toulouse.

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