In Paris, roughly half of the city’s public space is dedicated to cars. But the city has been fighting to reclaim that space, turning a highway along the Seine River into a park and walking path, redesigning intersections to prioritize pedestrians, giving most space on one of the city’s busiest streets to bikes, banning cars on some streets near elementary schools, and planning dozens of miles of new separated bike lanes.
One of the next steps involves banning through-traffic in the heart of the city. By 2024, the city plans to stop cars from driving across four central districts and part of the Left Bank of the Seine. “They’ve been reducing the space for cars, vans, and trucks quite a lot already these last years,” says Pierre Dornier, the France lead for the Clean Cities Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates for reducing traffic in cities to cut pollution.