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Paris Park And Ride

Two days ago I received a letter from the City of Paris. This, in itself, is not at all unusual. The City regularly informs its inhabitants of special events or public notices…not by making public broadcasts on radio, TV or in the newspapers, but by delivering by hand a letter deposited in each mail box.

This one was signed by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, on “Le Maire de Paris” letterhead. At first I thought it was just another piece of junk mail and almost tossed it till I read the first line:

“Madame, Monsieur, La pollution de l’air constitue à Paris un grave problème de santé publique, comme l’a malheureusement confirmé l’actualité récente.” In other words, our illustrious Mayor, who I become fonder of each passing day, is attacking the pollution problem with a vengeance by declaring it a major health hazard and is taking steps to improve the situation.

The letter continues to explain how children and the elderly are most affected and that pollution is directly related to cardiovascular disease and the cause of many deaths. Devotion to this project is at the heart of his administration. His first attempt to reduce pollution was to install the bus lanes throughout the city to create smoother traffic patterns for public transportation and to encourage the use by the public in lieu of their toxic gas producing cars.

Today, he has an additional plan, to which the body of this letter was addressed:

Monday, September 22, 2003, is declared nationally “En Ville Sans Ma Voiture” (In the City Without My Car). He is inviting every inhabitant leave their cars at home…to walk, use their bikes, or rent one of the many bikes he is making available to the public, to signal the launch of “La Semaine de Vélo” (The Week of the Bicycle).

Traffic will be limited in certain parts of the heart of the city from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. — a map was provided on the reverse side of the letter: traffic will be limited and speed to 30 km/h from Place de la Concorde on the west to Place de la Bastille on the east, from boulevard des Italiens on the north to boulevard Saint-Germian on the south. Much of Butte Montmartre and the Bassin de la Villette is included.

Since I live within this zone, I am greatly looking forward to less traffic, less noise and less pollution next Monday. And since I do not own a car and see no reason to own one as long as I’m living in Paris, I’ll be on foot like always.

In addition to Monday’s auto-less day, everyone is invited to participate Wednesday, September 24 in a cycling “randonnée” (excursion) starting at 6:30 p.m. at place Joffre (the south end of the Champs de Mars in front of Ecole Militaire) taking you down the Champs-Elysées. While I likely won’t be one of them…it will be fascinating to see how many cyclists hit the streets that evening…Paris may end up looking more like Amsterdam!

Click here or more official information on “En Ville Sans Ma Voiture

And for more information about the bike lanes in Paris:

A la prochaine(sans ma voiture)…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. If you’re a biking enthusiast and would like to see Paris and the surrounding countryside from two non-polluting wheels, you’ll want to have Rose Marie Burke’s “Insider Guide to Biking in Paris Plus Roses’ Best Day Trips Outside Paris!” http://www.insiderparisguides.com/parisbiking/index.html

* * *

* Further resources:

* Make a home in Paris…Stay in International Living’s luxury apartments

* Meet new friends, learn French three times a week and Party this Saturday with us!

* No one has as much depth of knowledge of the history of Paris as Thirza Vallois. Take the Grand Tour with Thirza.

* Mark your calendar every 2nd and 4th Tuesday for drinks with us.

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