When Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo banned cars from a large section of the River Seine’s quayside last autumn, she met a fierce backlash from pro-car advocates and some suburban mayors. As part of her annual New Year address on Friday, she outlined her response to this vocal resistance.
Rather than backtracking or mollifying critics, she’s going to push her pedestrianization measures even further. In autumn 2018, Paris will extend its car-free zone westward by a kilometer, install a guided bus line, and convert some space that’s currently used by cars into a two-way bike path. The openly declared objective: first to cut Paris’ car space by 50 percent, then ultimately rid central Paris of non-residents’ cars altogether. If Hidalgo has been rattled by criticism of her anti-car policies, she’s hiding it pretty well.
The transformations planned so far for 2018 are as follows: After permanently closing 3.3 kilometers of the Seine Right Bank’s upper quays to cars in September, the city will now extend this closed section a further kilometer to the west. This means that the entire bankside flanking the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens—currently hosting a busy route for cars—will be reserved exclusively for bikes, buses, and taxis.