Court Upholds Paris' Car Ban Along the Seine
Paris' Administrative Court has ruled to uphold a pedestrianization plan for the Seine Quays—a signature air pollution and transportation policy of Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Feargus O'Sullivan reports on the decision, and shares insights about the stakes at play in the outcome:
The pedestrianization plan, a flagship policy of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s green overhaul of France’s capital, has been in jeopardy for months after opponents, who included motorists’ groups and representatives of suburban districts surrounding the city, got a court to agree in February that the closure had been based on inaccurate evidence about pollution and traffic reduction.
Today’s rejection of that complaint is thus a major victory for Paris City Hall and has even drawn expressions of relief from members of the opposition party, which welcomed an end to what it called a legal “soap opera.” It must also be a relief for Hidalgo, who filmed a personal message celebrating the ruling. Indeed, news magazine L’Obs has hypothesized that City Hall’s reaction is no less than “un grand ‘ouf’”—“a big ‘phew.’”
While the car restrictions enacted by Mayor Hidalgo have been unequivocally praised by urbanists in the United States, the issue is far more complex in Paris and surrounding communities. "Indeed, reports in newspaper Le Parisien yesterday suggest that while cars and their pollution may have been displaced from the pedestrianized lower quayside, they had not in fact reduced in the surrounding area or across the city as a whole," according to O'Sullivan.