The intention to lower the speed limit on the Paris ring road, better known as the Périphérique, to 50 km/h and to limit traffic to one lane for carpoolers, has been met with criticism. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions in the capital, but thorough analysis shows that these measures may not achieve the desired effect.
Firstly, the reality of daily traffic on the Périphérique is such that during rush hours the average speed is often already below 50 km/h. This means that the new limit will have little to no impact on actual speed during the busiest hours, and therefore no impact on emissions. The impact may be somewhat noticeable during the night hours, but this has little to no significant effect on the environment. This raises questions about the effectiveness of this measure in general.
Furthermore, the decision to reserve a lane for carpoolers is potentially problematic. According to the French Ministry of Ecology, carpooling represents only about 3% of daily trips. This indicates that the measure may lead to significant traffic jams and a shift of traffic to other roads, including outer boulevards closer to residential areas. This can lead to increased nuisance and pollution in those areas.
These decisions appear to be part of a larger project by the city government to 'calm' the Périphérique. However, these initiatives do not seem fully rooted in the reality of urban mobility and can be seen as a distraction from other recent controversies, such as the mayor's journey to Tahiti. Furthermore, the City of Paris is ignoring the voices of the majority of Périphérique users, 80% of whom do not live in Paris and who have recently spoken out in large numbers against the project.
In the run-up to the Olympic Games in Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently stated in a French talk show that public transport in Paris will not be prepared in time for the event. With less than a year to go, there are growing concerns about the capacity and efficiency of the Paris transport network to handle the expected influx of visitors and athletes.
Hidalgo's comments underline the pre-existing problems Parisians face every day when traveling in the city. She warns that the Olympics could exacerbate these problems, especially due to the lack of sufficient trains and general public transport infrastructure. However, these statements by the mayor have irritated Transport Minister Clément Beaune. He criticizes Hidalgo for its negative attitude towards public transport and claims that it contributes little to finding solutions. Beaune's frustration seems to lie in Hidalgo's absence from important meetings and her criticism of others, while not taking an active role in solving the problems herself.
On the other hand, regional politician Valérie Pécresse expresses a more optimistic tone. She is convinced that public transport in Paris will ultimately be able to meet the challenges of the Games. Her confidence suggests that more preparatory measures may be taken or planned than what is suggested by Hidalgo. With the Games starting on July 26 next year and lasting until August 11, there is a clear need for effective coordination and improvement of public transport in Paris. The coming months will be crucial in addressing these challenges and ensuring a successful and smooth experience for everyone involved in the Olympic Games.