Paris lowers speed limit across most of city for safety, noise reasons

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Aug. 30 (UPI) — Drivers in Paris were required to slow down on Monday, as the speed limit was lowered to 30 kilometres per hour — about 18 mph — for the vast majority of the French capital as part of an effort to limit accidents and noise pollution.

The new speed limit applies to vehicle traffic throughout Paris, except for the city’s “ring road” highway and a few boulevards, city officials announced as they implemented the change.

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The decision to reduce the speed limit follows a month-long public consultation on the subject last year during which more than 5,700 people voiced their opinions in an online survey. About 60% of Parisian roads were already limited to the same speed before the measure.

City officials say reducing noise and improving safety are the main reasons for the measure. They hope the new speed limit will halve the noise near traffic corridors, improve quality of life and relieve psychological effects such as stress, insomnia and depression.

They also cite World Health Organization studies showing that the likelihood of a pedestrian being killed in a collision can be reduced from 80% to 10% when impact speeds are reduced from 50 km/h to 30 km/h.

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Deputy Paris Mayor David Belliard said the move is also part of a pledge made by his boss, Mayor Anne Hidalgo, to reduce the amount of public space taken by cars.

“This measure is part of a coherent policy to transform public space,” Belliard told FranceInfo. “It’s a policy that favors so-called ‘soft’ mobility such as walking, cycling and public transport rather than the car, which we want to reserve for essential journeys.”

Hidalgo is seeking to further slash traffic in the capital by introducing a “low traffic zone” in the center of Paris by next year in which all vehicles would be banned from four central districts, or arrondissements, Radio France International reported.