On September 27, the French capital will spend “A Day Without Cars” to promote cleaner air and safer streets.
image via (cc) flickr user la_bretagne_a_paris
Paris may be for lovers, but on September 27, the French capital will also be for walkers, bikers, and other decidedly non-automotive travelers. Sponsored by the city government, “Une Journée Sans Voiture” (“A Day Without a Car”) will see streets across town shut down (or “opened up,” depending on how you look at it) in order to make things a little easier for the native Parisians and tourists alike, who are sick of the city’s traffic, and the noise and pollution it causes as well.
Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the event this past Spring, tweeting a picture of the city’s famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, completely car-free:
According to the Une Journée Sans Voiture webpage, areas that will be set aside solely for pedestrians include the city’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th and 11th municipal zones, as well as streets around the Eiffel Tower, the Bois de Boulogne public park and the Champs-Élysées. And while the car ban is not absolute (government vehicles, for instance, will be allowed to drive in the affected areas, as will people who themselves live in those neighborhoods) they are widespread enough to have the capacity to dramatically change the way people exist in the city.
image via (cc) flickr user zapthedingbat
Paris’ experiment with car-less streets is scheduled to come fresh on the heels of a similar ban in the (much smaller) European capital city of Stockholm, Sweden. Inhabitat points out that the day without cars also coincides with both European Mobility week and the COP21 United Nations climate conference.
Admittedly, a single day without cars is unlikely to make much of a dent in the global pollution rates. What it does do, instead, is make it a bit easier for city-dwellers—many of whom are likely inured to the frustrations of living in a traffic-heavy metropolis—to experience their everyday surroundings in a new, less hectic light. And perhaps, having had a taste of traffic-less living, enough people, both residents and tourists alike, will be inspired to make an eco-friendly change in their own lives, rather than wait for an entire city to do it for them.