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Paris Goes Car-Free For One Day in September

Aug 25, 2016 04:28 AM EDT
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For one special day in September, the streets of Paris will be car-free.

On September 25, Sunday, the City of Light will be celebrating the "Journée sans voitures" or Car Free Day, where the streets will be closed to motorized vehicles from 11am to 6pm, inviting pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy a few moments free of traffic, noise and pollution.

The event aims to increase citizens' awareness on alternative transportation and how cities could help fight "traffic-related air pollution." All outdoor programs in the whole neighborhood will be free of charge.

"People from the Paris region and visitors will be able to enjoy a peaceful and breathable city with 648.15 kilometers of car-free roads, equivalent to 45% of the area of the city," the Conventions and Visitors said in a report by Forbes.

"This ban on traffic applies to all motor vehicles (LPG vehicles, electric cars, two and three-wheeler motorized vehicles) and will be enforced by the police and 100 municipal staff. This day will be an opportunity to discover or rediscover our capital in a different way with many fun and educational activities on the program."

It will be the second Journée sans voitures, covering a larger area compared with last year's event. Practically every neighborhood will be included, where only bicycles, delivery tricycles, non-motorized scooters, rollerblades and skateboards will be allowed on the streets of the French capital (with a few exceptions like ambulances).

The car-free day was founded by the independent, nongovernment organization named Paris Sans Voiture, Collective Citoyen. According to its website, "the spirit of the event is eco-citizen, participatory, festive. It emphasizes mobility issues, the fight against pollution, the reclaiming of public space."

The car-free day is also part of a larger initiative to minimize automobile circulation and to improve air quality in the city. The local government has already banned cars along the Champs-Élysées every first Sunday of the month, and created nine new areas called "Paris breathes," which were added to the existing 13, reducing traffic during Sundays and public holidays.

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