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Paris Has a Plan to Keep Cars Out After Lockdown

As the city prepares to reopen, Mayor Anne Hidalgo plans to use bike lanes, buses, and social distancing to keep more cars off the roads and reduce pollution.
The Rue de Rivoli, a central route in Paris, will be devoted mostly to bike and pedestrian traffic after lockdown is lifted.
The Rue de Rivoli, a central route in Paris, will be devoted mostly to bike and pedestrian traffic after lockdown is lifted.Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg

Returning to a Paris dominated by cars after lockdown ends is “out of the question,” according to the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo. Speaking Tuesday at a special session of the Paris City Council on transitioning after France’s national lockdown eases on May 11, Hidalgo was emphatic about maintaining the anti-pollution and anti-congestion measures introduced during her tenure, even as cities rethink transportation policies to avoid Covid-19 transmission.

“I say in all firmness that it is out of the question that we allow ourselves to be invaded by cars, and by pollution,” she said. “It will make the health crisis worse. Pollution is already in itself a health crisis and a danger — and pollution joined up with coronavirus is a particularly dangerous cocktail. So it’s out of the question to think that arriving in the heart of the city by car is any sort of solution, when it could actually aggravate the situation.”