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.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Will the Pope’s Visit Lead to Massive Car-Free Days in Philly?

|
Since Pope Francis’s visit this weekend, #pOpenstreets has become a rallying cry in Philadelphia. The hashtag has turned into a collective record of photos and insights about the surprising amount of fun and freedom that city residents enjoyed when 4.7 square miles of the city center went car-free. Impromptu soccer games and bike rides, a lot […]

Wishing for "Truly Open Streets" in 2015

|
It’s a new year, and around the Streetsblog Network people are posting their 2014 retrospectives and resolutions for the year ahead. Kristen Jeffers at The Black Urbanist shares these thoughts to kick off 2015: Remember this picture of me? I was playing on a B-cycle demonstration bike on the street that I helped paint, to […]

Naparstek Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief of Streetsblog

|
Aaron Naparstek in his ‘Livable Streets Power Broker’ pose. (Photo: N. Whitaker) This will be difficult news for those of you who are already reeling from Oprah’s retirement, Simon Cowell’s abandonment of "American Idol" and Sewell Chan‘s departure from City Room, but here it is: I am leaving my job as editor-in-chief of Streetsblog. For […]

Scenes From the Big Car-Free Day in Paris

|
-Journee sans voitures, Les Champs Elysees, maintenant. -Day without cars, Champs Elysees, now. -Arabasiz gun, Champs Elysees, simdi. #journeesansvoitures #daywithoutcars #arabasizgun #champselysees #champselysées #nofilter #photooftheday A photo posted by Arkun Demiroglu (@arkundemiroglu) on Sep 27, 2015 at 3:13am PDT The air was noticeably clearer yesterday over the city of Paris, where people walking, biking, skating, […]