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This Major City Is Banning Almost All Cars

Officials are trying to reduce traffic jams in this popular destination.

Whether you're commuting into the office, running errands, or just getting from one place to another, relying on your vehicle to get things done can be a headache. Even if unexpected car trouble doesn't sideline your ride, the constant threat of rush hour traffic can turn what's usually a quick trip into an agonizing slog. To combat this, some cities have taken action to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road by introducing new tolls and taxes and closing streets for pedestrian access. But one major city has gone a step further after announcing that it will be banning almost all cars in certain areas in the coming years. Read on to see which place is trying to put an end to the gridlock.

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Officials in Paris announced most cars will be banned in central districts starting in 2024.

Paris traffic

On Feb. 17, officials in Paris announced that it would be instituting a ban on cars in certain areas of the city to help cut back on the notorious traffic jams that have become a constant problem in the French capital. The new rules will go into effect in 2024.

The new plan would create a "car-free zone" that covers most of the metropolitan center, including most of the city's 1st through 4th arrondissements, travel news outlet The Points Guy reports. The bustling tourist and residential area is home to many of the city's most famous attractions, including the Louvre, Sainte-Chapelle royal chapel, Tuileries Garden, and the Marais district.

Local residents and certain car traffic will still be allowed when the change goes into effect.

Senior man with hat and eyeglasses adjusting rear mirror while sitting in his car. Other hand on steering wheel. Picture taken from back seat.

City officials clarified that the new rules wouldn't wholly rid the streets of vehicles when they go into effect. The traffic ban specifies that local residents will still be able to drive and park their cars in the area, The Points Guy reports.

Instead, officials say the new rules aim to eliminate the constant flow of cars passing through the city center. "We want destination traffic," David Belliard, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of the transformation of public space and mobility, said in a statement. "For people who have something to do there: shopping, going to the doctor, to the restaurant, etc.," adding that delivery drivers would also still have access.

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The city is trying to improve conditions before hosting the 2024 Olympic Games.

A statue of the Olympic rings set against a blue sky

Initially, the city had planned to institute the changes this year to improve air quality and decrease congestion ahead of the city's hosting duties for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. However, the start date of regulations was pushed back so the city could "extend the calendar for the benefit of legal robustness," Emmanuel Grégoire, the 1st deputy mayor of Paris, explained.

While the city officials haven't said exactly how it would enforce the new rules, they explain the current plan is to use random spot checks of vehicles leaving the area for proof of their visit, such as a receipt, The Points Guy reports. A camera system is also expected to be installed to keep track of residents' license plates. Officials say the city will issue fines to drivers who violate the "car-free zone" regulations.

Paris has also recently installed more bike lanes and banned cars in other areas.

eiffel tower beside the river

The forthcoming ban won't be the first time officials in Paris have attempted to make the city less dependent on cars. During the COVID-19 lockdowns in the French capital, Mayor Anne Hidalgo installed more than 100 miles of new bike paths to encourage cyclists to ditch their vehicles, The Verge reports. And in 2017, city officials banned cars from driving along a two-mile stretch of road along the River Seine to create a pedestrian area and decrease air pollution.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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