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Paris's Groundbreaking Car Bans Face a Backlash

Mayors of neighboring cities say they’re suffering from plans to turn a major roadway into a car-free zone.
relates to Paris's Groundbreaking Car Bans Face a Backlash
Charles Platiau/Reuters

If there was any doubt that Paris is on the front line in the battle against urban car congestion, this week confirms it.

On one hand, locals are preparing for the mid-January arrival of one of the strongest car-control measures yet: a weekday driving ban on cars built before 1997. On the other hand, the city’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo, known as a promoter of pro-green policies, is facing a fierce backlash against one of her key anti-pollution measures: banning all cars from a central section of the right bank of the Seine. On Wednesday morning, 168 mayors from the Greater Paris region condemned the move in an open letter to Le Figaro, demanding its repeal. So is Paris taking a step forward or a step back?