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Paris is removing 70,000 on-street car parking spaces to free up space for people

Paris is removing 70,000 on-street car parking spaces to free up space for people
Source: Unsplash

The French capital is halving street parking to make the city greener and more people-friendly.

Paris halves street parking and asks residents what they want to do with the space

Paris needs to adapt to the acceleration of climate change, says deputy mayor David Belliard. Plans for vacated parking spaces to include more trees, children’s playgrounds and bike lock-up areas.

— deputy mayor David Belliard
“We can no longer use 50% of the capital for cars when they represent only 13% of people’s journeys,” — deputy mayor David Belliard Source: Unsplash/Jace & Afsoon

Deputy Mayor says city must adapt to climate change

Paris is set to remove half of its 140,000 on-street car parking spaces as it seeks to make the city greener and more people friendly. Authorities in the French capital want to remove some 70,000 surface parking spots to free up space, particularly on narrow and residential streets, for more eco-friendly transport options and leisure pursuits. Priority for remaining spaces will be given to residents and businesses, and no disabled places will be removed.

“We can no longer use 50% of the capital for cars when they represent only 13% of people’s journeys,” said deputy mayor David Belliard, reported in The Times. “We have to plant greenery in the city to adapt to the acceleration of climate change. We want to make the air more breathable and give public space to Parisians who often live in cramped flats.”

Source: WorldEconomicForum 

Priority for remaining spaces will be given to residents and businesses. No disabled places will be removed.
Authorities in the French capital want to remove some 70,000 surface parking spots to free up space, particularly on narrow and residential streets. Priority for remaining spaces will be given to residents and businesses. No disabled places will be removed. Source: Unsplash/Vitoria Beatriz Fetter

Residents consulted on greener options

Local authorities are now consulting residents on what they would like to see replace the 10 square metre parking places, many of which are in residential areas. Options include more trees and plants, vegetable allotments, food composting areas, children’s playgrounds, bicycle lock-up areas and hygienic public toilets, among many others.

The Parisian plans predate the COVID-19 pandemic – they were first floated during mayor Anne Hidalgo’s re-election campaign early in the year – but the outbreak has prompted cities across the world to rethink their use of outdoor space.

And the pandemic has highlighted the benefits to the environment and public health of reducing pollution from having fewer cars on the road. The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, has been mapping changes of air pollution since its launch in 2017. It found the concentration of nitrogen dioxide drop in five cities, including Paris, last year.

Source: WorldEconomicForum 

Hidalgo’s goal is to also add 1000km (621 miles) of bike lanes, transforming Paris into a safe biking paradise. Paris is already eighth on the 2019
Mayor Hidalgo would like to see Paris having many more miles of bike lanes added by 2022. Hidalgo’s goal is to also add 1000km (621 miles) of bike lanes, transforming Paris into a safe biking paradise. Paris is already eighth on the 2019 Source: Unsplash/Khamkéo Vilaysing

Currently cars make up just 13% of trips in the city yet enjoy 50% of the space

Part of mayor Anne Hidalgo’s re-election promise was to clean her city’s air and to improve the life of Parisians. On 20 October last year, according to Forbes, she took a huge, brave step to make this happen. David Belliard, deputy mayor of transport, confirmed that 60,000 on-street parking spots would be removed to make more space for cyclists and pedestrians.

Belliard told Forbes that cars make up just 13% of trips in the city, yet they enjoy 50% of the space. In fact, this is not such a dramatic step as Parisians are not very reliant on their cars; three in ten Parisians own a car, and they use it mostly on the weekend, added Belliard. 

The idea is for drivers to use underground parking of which there are five times more spots than above ground. The surface parking spots that will be spared will be reserved for professionals who need their cars for business.

“We can’t live as before, “ Hidalgo told the New York Times. “There’s been an acceleration in climate change.” She would like to see Paris having many more miles of bike lanes added by next year. Hidalgo’s goal is to also add 1000km (621 miles) of bike lanes, transforming Paris into a safe biking paradise. Paris is already eighth on the 2019 Copenhagenize Index of bike-friendly cities in the world, and with this newly claimed space, it will certainly score higher in the future.

Last month, Hidalgo announced a €250 million plan to convert the iconic Champs-Élysées avenue into a pedestrian-friendly public space.

Mayor Hidalgo has work ahead of her, tearing up the concrete, diverting traffic, and eventually closing down roads to be car free. However, when this project is complete, it will enhance the city for Parisians and tourists alike.

Source: Goodnet.org

The surface parking spots that will be spared will be reserved for professionals who need their cars for business.
The idea is for drivers to use underground parking of which there are five times more spots than above ground. The surface parking spots that will be spared will be reserved for professionals who need their cars for business. Source: Unsplash/Pedro Gandra

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s mobility plans for the future

By 2024, mayor Anne Hidalgo wants all Parisian streets to be cycle friendly. To reach this goal a new traffic plan will be implemented to promote walking, cycling and public transport. An important part of this plan is the removal of 72% of on-street parking spaces in an effort to create room for cyclists. 60,000 of the 83,500 on-street parking spaces in this case will be removed.

Paris has 621,600 parking spots both on as off-street accounting for 96 hectares (237 acres) of urban domain, reserved for the cars of residents. The city has 462,700 private vehicles registered. A number that is falling each year together with car usage by Parisian residents. 

This shows there is room for policy makers to reshape Paris into a future-proof, climate-resilient and sustainable city. Policymakers and research institutes are already starting to develop scenarios for those 488,000 off-street parking spots, including car sharing, bicycle parking, logistic space, urban farming and sports infrastructure. 

Source: Park4SUMP

A number that is falling each year together with car usage by Parisian residents.
Paris has 462,700 private vehicles registered. A number that is falling each year together with car usage by Parisian residents. Source: Unsplash/Lawless Capture
Paris is removing half its street parking to free up space for people. Nearly 70,000 parking spots are set to disappear by 2025. Source: Facebook/WorldEconomicForum
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3 WAYS TO DRIVE LESS (WITH PICTURES)

Whether you'd like to reduce your environmental footprint, reduce expenses, get more exercise, spend less time stuck in traffic, or all of the above, one of the best things to do is to drive less when you can. You can cut back on your driving by using alternative forms of transportation, staying close to home, and making small changes to the way you drive. With these easy changes, you’ll be driving less in no time! — wikiHow