Sep 14th, 2015, 04:30 PM

Paris Will Close Its Streets To Cars For the First Time Ever

By Skylar Smiley
Image credit: Flickr/Fabrizio Sciami
During Une Journée Sans Voiture on September 27th, the streets will be dedicated to pedestrians.

For the first time in Paris history, streets will be closed to vehicle traffic so that Parisians and tourists alike can enjoy many parts of the city without noise, pollution and traffic. Mayer Anne Hidalgo proposed the creation of "Une Journee Sans Voiture" this past March and hopes to make it a yearly event. If you live or work in Paris or are visiting the city on Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 11:00am to 6:00pm, plan on wearing a pair of walking shoes or packing a bike helmet. The 1st to the 7th, the 10th and 11th arrondisements as well as the Champs Elysees, Place Stalingrad, Place de la Republique, the left Bank, the Place de la Bastille and the area around the Eiffel Tower and Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne will be closed off for pedestrians and cyclists. With the exception of emergency vehicles, public transit, and delivery vehicles the streets will become a haven for walkers and bikers.

Image credit: Payton Chung

The day is one of Paris' recent attempts to instill greener commuting practices and is a part of the campaign against pollution. It falls during European Mobility week, which takes place between September 16th to the 22nd, which is (conveniently) a few months before the United Nations climate-change conference (COP21) comes to France in November. Earlier this year, Paris ignominiously topped air pollution indexes, so the government is trying to find ways to promote alternative transportation in unique ways. It has already changed the law to allow cyclists to run red lights, conducted a six month experiment where companies compensated employees for biking to work and even pay you 450 euros to give up your car. The theory is that more open streets will reduce roadway congestion and improve quality of life. 

Though this will be Paris' first Day Without Car program, other cities around the world have similar events held regularly. Montreal, Bogota, Mexico City, Ho Minh City and Brussels have all temporarily closed down certain streets to encourage bike riding and allow people to enjoy a more peaceful environment.