"Paris still has a huge car problem" Top 5 Page for this destination Driving & Drivers Tip by Nemorino
Driving & Drivers, Paris: 55 reviews and 51 photos
Despite all the efforts that have been made in recent years to reduce motor traffic and re-allocate urban space, the sad fact of the matter is that Paris still has a huge car problem.
Here we are a dozen years into the 21st century, and people are still storming through the streets in their pollution machines as though they were back in the 1960s and didn’t know any better.
My first photo is from the top of the Arch of Triumph, looking down at ten lanes of cars on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées – a truly disgusting spectacle. From the top of the Arch you fortunately can’t smell the exhaust fumes, but you can certainly hear the traffic noise, the same incessant humming that you hear if you happen to live near a motorway, punctuated with the individual roars of sports cars or motorcycles as they accelerate wildly when the lights change.
Second, third and fourth photos: As I have mentioned before, one of the more vicious acts of vandalism in recent Paris history was the destruction of the right bank in the 1960s for the purpose of installing the Voie Express Georges Pompidou, an expressway for eastbound motor vehicles by the side of the River Seine. Supposedly there are plans to change this in some way, but so far I haven’t seen any progress.
Update 2013: Some limited improvements have recently been made on the right bank. See my tips The right bank of the Seine and Square du port-de-l’Hôtel-de-Ville.
Update 2016: The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has announced that after the 2016 edition of Paris Plages, the expressway along the Right Bank will remain permanently closed to motor vehicles and will be transformed into a pedestrian zone with vegetation, street furniture, light sports equipment, children’s playgrounds and refreshment stands. This applies to 3.3 km of expressway from the tunnel of the Tuileries (1st) to the harbor of the Arsenal (4th).
Fifth photo: On the rue Saint-Antoine, near place de la Bastille, I discovered this yellow sign reading “Piste cyclable neutralisée”, meaning that the bicycle lane has been neutralized, eliminated, done away with. At the bottom of the sign someone has added a handwritten question: “Quand est-ce qu’on neutralise les bagnoles?” This means: “When are they going to neutralize the cars?”
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