Footage of one street in Paris is causing a double-take for observers around the world.
In mid-November, a post by Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) with more than 250,000 views on X, formerly known as Twitter, revealed pedestrians and cyclists traveling on a major road almost devoid of cars.
The footage was initially posted by Fouad Khayat (@Khayat_Fouad).
Remember, Paris wasn’t “always this way.”— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) November 17, 2023
It wasn’t even this way in late 2019 when I was last there.
Just a few years ago, #Paris was choking in car traffic much more.
This is new. This is leadership.
Cities are a result of choices.
“It wasn’t even this way in late 2019 when I was last there,” Toderian wrote. “Just a few years ago, #Paris was choking in car traffic much more. This is new. This is leadership. Cities are a result of choices.”
A number of cities, developments, and countries have already been taking steps to limit or ban gas-powered cars, with their eyes on reducing asthma-causing pollution that has also contributed to a concerning rise in global temperatures.
Paris is no exception.
The average vehicle produces more than 10,000 pounds of carbon pollution annually, and as reported by Sortir à Paris, the medical journal The Lancet found that Paris has the fourth-deadliest air pollution in Europe, with nitrogen dioxide emitted by traffic leading to 2,575 premature deaths each year.
While that news may seem daunting, it appears Paris is ready to turn a corner — in part by embracing the concept of a “15-minute city,” per the BBC, “where everything a resident needs can be reached within a quarter of an hour by foot or bike.”
As the nonprofit online magazine Reasons to Be Cheerful detailed, the journal Les Cahiers Scientifiques du Transport found that “the proportion of journeys by car in Paris has dropped about 45 percent since 1990,” while “the share of cyclists has increased tenfold.”
The Parisian Urban Planning Workshop (Apur) also discovered that the number of cars in Paris has consistently decreased since 2012, with only 30% of people in the city owning a vehicle.
“A lot of what has been happening in Paris is very exciting. It is seizing the opportunity to change,” Westminster University professor of transport Rachel Aldred told Reasons to Be Cheerful.
“The bike lanes in Paris are so good my pregnant wife felt comfortable biking around the city,” another user on X said.
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