Paris Kicks Off Monthly Car-Free Sundays on the Champs-Élysées

Photo: Celesteh
Photo: Celesteh

It’s been almost six months since Paris held its big car-free day, a jubilant event that temporarily cleared the air of poisonous diesel emissions and imparted a sense of how great streets could be without the constant roar of motor vehicles.

Now Mayor Anne Hidalgo is moving to make “open streets” a monthly event. Richard Layman at Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space, based in DC, says it’s good to see Paris thinking big:

Started in Bogotá, Colombia, in the 1970s but raised to the level of global prominence in the 21st century by former Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, who resuscitated the program in the mid-1990s… Ciclovia is a program where streets are closed every Sunday in favor of walking, biking, and other community activities.

Now called “Open Streets” initiatives, they have spread across the world.

It’s important when doing this to not be timid, to be forward and prominent, closing major streets. DC’s past attempts at such a program have been timid affairs, located in distant quadrants of the city.

Paris is going big with a new Sunday Street program of its own, inaugurating its new monthly street closure program by closing its single most important street, the Champs-Élysées.

Elsewhere on the Network today: An Urban Indy reader writes about why she supports the Indianapolis region’s big ballot initiative this November to build a regional transit system. The Political Environment looks at how Wisconsin politics could shape a looming water policy decision with major land use implications around the Great Lakes. And Green City Blue Lake takes a hard look at the Cleveland region’s ever-expanding sprawl and the fallout for the regional housing market.

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