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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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For the first time ever, whole of Paris goes car-free

Car-Free Day

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PARIS, France - For the first time ever, after previously experimenting with car-free days, Paris has marked its annual car-free day, for a whole day on Sunday. 

Officials announced that all of the French capital's 20 arrondissements or districts were closed off to vehicles for its third annual "car-free day.”

With all cars and motorcycles off the roads from 11 am to 6 pm, in a bid to reduce pollution levels, pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers owned the streets - walking down its historic roads and boulevards - experiencing the city sans the combustion engine. 

Authorities said that only service vehicles, like emergency vehicles, buses and taxis were allowed on the streets, restricted to 30 kilometres per hour.

Vehicles will be allowed on the belt highway surrounding Paris - the périphérique, as well as in the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, two large wooded areas bordering Paris to the west and east respectively.

Christophe Najdovski, the environment consultant for the city, said in a statement that the objective is simply to enjoy the city in a different way. 

Najdovski said, “It's a day for learning, fun and conviviality."

Last year, on the car-free day, traffic was only banned from a few of the city's central districts.

The previous car-free day operations have not been well received by everyone, however.

In a statement, Pierre Chasseray from the 40 million motorists association said, "What's the point of reducing the traffic if it just leads to more traffic jams elsewhere?"

Other motorists have argued that cycling is not convenient for everyone - particularly for those that have to drive long distances from the suburbs to get to work.

Car-free days after also marked in New York, Casablanca and Brussels.

 

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