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Paris reduces its speed limit to 30 km/hr to help the environment5 min read

August 31, 2021 4 min read


Paris reduces its speed limit to 30 km/hr to help the environment5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It might take longer to visit the Eiffel Tower now but Paris might meet its green goals a lot sooner with the new changes to control vehicular population in the city.

France has outlined pathways for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Click on the image below to know what other countries have planned for carbon neutrality.

On Monday, a speed limit of 30 km/hr was imposed across Paris as a way to reduce noise pollution, air pollution, and road accidents. Some areas like the Champs Elysées and the main ring road, the Boulevard Périférique are exempted from the restriction where speed limits stand at 50 km/hr and 70 km/hr respectively.

The Champs Elysées will keep its existing speed limit. Image: BBC

Before Monday, two-thirds of the city was already subject to this limit.

This change has been brought around by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who was re-elected last year. She envisions a greener Paris as the city prepares to host the 2024 Olympics.

Image: Wikipedia

Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party,
is the first woman to hold office.

This measure is being imposed so Parisians can get used to light traffic during the summer. This is one of the ways by which Hidalgo plans to reduce Parisian dependence on cars. The number of street parking bays are being halved. Also, most vehicles are expected to be banned from the city centre next year. Alongside, cycle lanes are being made, and streets are being redesigned to be more pedestrian-friendly.

A poll suggests that 59% of Parisians are in favour of this measure but some businesses oppose it. They believe that speed awareness campaigns would have been more effective to reduce accidents. Others are displeased with how the new cycle lanes have dampened the beauty of the city.

Temporary cycle lanes. Image: Twitter

Similar limits are also in place in Grenoble and Lille, as well as Bilbao in Spain, and the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Does speed reduction really help?

Well, yes, accoding to US National Research Council’s committee for study of impacts of highway capacity improvement on air quality and energy consumption. In the report, research from Germany has shown the percentage change in emissions from 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr. The research showed that the greater the speed of vehicles in built-up areas, more are the chances of acceleration, deceleration, and braking, all of which add to emissions leading to air pollution. Traffic calming, reduced gear changing by 12%, brake use by 14%, and gasoline use by 12%. 

Built-up areas are areas with building (roofed structures).

Another research conducted by the researchers at Virginia Tech in the US has emphasised that the kind of traffic calming measures are crucial to the attempt to reduce pollution. For example, speed bumps and stop signs that cause instant deceleration may lead to increased fuel consumption. On the other hand, traffic circles and roundabouts that allow drivers to gradually reduce speed lead to reduced air pollution.

Do you think protecting the environment is a choice, duty, right or all three? Let Owliver know in the comments, below.

With excerpts from The Guardian, Reuters, and BBC.