Paris, the “City of Lights,” has decided to go to war against global warming by reducing the speed limit on city streets to 30 KPH (19 MPH).
To further enrage drivers, the city has eliminated 60,000 of its 144,000 parking spaces to make them “more accessible to everyone.” They will also widen some sidewalks, create new bike lanes, and plant new trees and shrubs.
Polls show that 59 percent of Parisians support the reduced speed limit, although in the wider metro area opposition tops out at 61 percent.
There appears to be a debate about whether reducing the speed limit and eliminating parking places will actually make the air cleaner and save the planet from climate change. The science says no, but socialists only follow the science when it’s on their side of an argument.
“With deliveries, it’s terrible. We don’t have time. I was in traffic jams everywhere. We don’t have time,” he told CNN affiliate BFMTV, which did not name him.
Another driver said it was as if car drivers were traveling on “electric scooters,” calling the rule “crazy.”
Parisian Deputy Mayor David Belliard, who is responsible for transport, told BFMTV that the hope was the limit would put more people off driving altogether and encourage more walking, use of public transport and bikes.
In fact, sitting in traffic jams created by the reduced speed limit will pump far more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than cars moving in normal traffic. An idling car contributes to smog and climate change and wastes about 6 billion gallons of fuel a year in America, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Paris cab drivers are legendary for their ability to zip around the city, but some now say their business is doomed.
“So if I drive at 30 kph, the client starts complaining. If I drive at 50 kph (about 30 mph), I get arrested by the police. So I don’t know what to do!” exclaimed Karim Macksene, seated in his cab outside the iconic Cafe de Flore on the Left Bank. “People take a cab because they’re in a hurry. At 30 kph, they might as well walk.”
The socialists seem to be particularly hell-bent on trying to slow people down. Other cities in Europe are also reducing speed limits to “combat climate change.
Brussels imposed a 30 kph limit on much of the city earlier this year. About 80% of Berlin streets have the same rule. London last year imposed a 20 mph (32 kph) limit on some roads within the city’s Congestion Charging Zone.
Madrid imposed such a limit on most of the city center in 2018, and this year Spain put a 30-kph limit on all one-way urban roads, a measure aimed at reducing air and noise pollution and increasing traffic safety.
There’s no doubt that going slower is statistically safer for other cars and pedestrians. But what does it do for the mental health of most people when they’re stuck in traffic jams and move through a big city at a snail’s pace? You can bet that road rage will become a significant problem in Paris after the restrictions are in place for a while.