How Paris Kicked Out the Cars

The metamorphosis of Paris from a city of noise and smog into an active transport haven is amazing. A city once remade for voitures has transformed itself into an unlikely utopia for cyclists and pedestrians.

“In 2020 [the mayor] renovated the Right Bank’s main east-west artery, the Rue de Rivoli. It has gone from six lanes of traffic (four moving, two parked) to one for taxis and buses, with the rest a bike path serving 8,500 riders a day. (In a pinch, the bike path is wide enough to serve as a traffic-free route for emergency vehicles; an analysis recently showed that this has helped the city lower fire response times to under seven minutes for the first time in more than a decade.)”


About a year ago, I saw this interesting video about the changes in Paris. Still relevant and insightful today.

The same YouTuber also recently visisted Oslo, which is quickly changing into an even better version of itself by prioritizing active travel.


Thanks @MertenDeKinderen - I had just watched the Oslo video myself.

It makes you think about both how fast, and how slow, some of these changes can be.

It seems like only very recently that Paris started implementing these changes, and yet it has been transformed. Having said that, Paris was already “transformed” in the 19th century to have wide enough boulevards that at least some changes could be put in place on existing routes.

The Oslo story is interesting, but IIRC he didn’t go into detail about how they achieved the lower car traffic in advance of the street design changes, or did he?

I particularly learned from that the idea that these changes can be “costless” if they are built into the design guidelines and implemented as roads are renovated in any case - but the timeline on that was around 30 years (and I’m betting it is much longer than that in London).

It would be really interesting to hear more of the specific and creative ways that car traffic reduction has been addressed in cities like these (as opposed to talking about the good reasons for doing it)

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Entirely right, Rob!

The following article gives a good summary of how Oslo tried to reduce car traffic over the last few years, with mixed results.

Additional background info about Oslo’s specific approach can be found in the city’s “Car-free Livability Programme 2019”, in case you’re interested.