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Cars Curbed in Paris

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  • fredshirley@earthlink.net
    Paris Mayor Defends Anti-car Moves as Drivers Moan By Reuters Friday, August 24, 2001 PARIS, — Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe vigorously defended his anti-car
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25 3:30 PM
      Paris Mayor Defends Anti-car Moves as Drivers Moan

      By Reuters

      Friday, August 24, 2001

      PARIS, — Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe vigorously defended his
      anti-car campaign amid growing criticism on Thursday that new lanes
      reserved for buses, bicycles and taxis were turning the city centre
      into a traffic hell.

      The Socialist mayor, elected last spring on a platform of creating
      more "civilised space" in the capital, argued he had a mandate to
      fight pollution and he intended to use it.

      "This problem affects all Parisians and especially the most
      vulnerable, children and elderly people," he told the daily Le
      Parisien.

      "Fighting against the dominance of the car is therefore a duty, but
      it also reflects the aspirations of a majority of Parisians," he
      said.

      The lanes, which the city has been marking off with new concrete
      dividers during the summer, has reduced the space available to cars
      and caused gridlock in central Paris even before the return of summer
      holidaymakers.

      "This is what awaits you," screamed the front page of Le Parisien
      over a picture of a traffic jam.

      "The Greens and Socialists are about to achieve the incredible feat
      of increasing pollution by blocking traffic," scoffed Yves Galland of
      the centre-right UDF party.

      OPPONENTS SLAM "ARBITRARY" SYSTEM

      Opposition politicians criticised the way the new system was approved
      and implemented during the summer, saying residents, police and local
      officials were not adequately consulted.

      Cyclists complained the new corridors were not properly policed,
      allowing rogue drivers free rein.

      Deputy Mayor Yves Contassot, head of the small Greens party in the
      city's coalition government, became the first casualty of the system
      when he was knocked off his bike on Tuesday by a motorcyclist
      illegally racing down the central Rue de Rivoli.

      Motorists say the new lanes also fail to provide for delivery trucks,
      who are confined to the car traffic lane where they create a safety
      hazard and aggravate tailbacks.

      Delanoe had already courted controversy with his decision to
      temporarily ban cars from a four-kilometre (two-mile) stretch of road
      beside the River Seine in July and August.

      Environmental campaigners praised the move to turn over the riverside
      expressway to cyclists and skaters for a month. But it outraged
      drivers who were jammed into narrow side streets.

      A survey by the Ipsos institute found 66 percent approved the move,
      although this proportion fell to 40 percent among those who used
      their cars regularly. The poll questioned 800 residents aged over 15
      between July 31 and August 2.

      Copyright 2001 — Reuters
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