I have been sitting on this blog post since May of 2016. I was going to call it, "Paris Dooms Most Cars More Than 20 Years Old To The Crusher." But this story has grown over the months. Paris is trying to get to the point where very few people own cars, and those who do, use it to escape the city, not use them to travel within the giant metropolis. That's how I use my car in Manhattan. It is my get out of town for the weekend ride.
This story really went global when Paris announced it was banning most cars made before 1997 from driving on roads. But then this week, Paris mayor Anne Hildago explained that it wouldn't be enough to meet her vision. And that vision is a capital with nearly no cars driving in it. And so she is accelerating efforts to do just that by banning cars from some major thoroughfares and expanding bicycle lanes. For Paris, the answer is not electricification, as all cars are "archaic," and waste space. If Hildago gets her way, cars will no longer have priority access to the streets of Paris.
I have never been to Paris. I am more of a London kind of guy. But there are two things we need to understand about this push to sharply reduce the number of cars in it.
From our colleague Uncle Tim:
Paris has the mass transit infrastructure to do this, of course. It is already faster and cheaper to get to any of Paris' 20 arrondissements by metro or bus. And Paris has confidence that it can increase capacity to carry more passengers who give up cars. New York couldn't do that. No US city could. London could, and it has encourages a shift to mass transit with its congestion tolls, now going strong in its 13th year. If Paris combined its aggressive car restrictions with London-style congestion tolls, it would see results even sooner. Let's see how Paris is doing in a year (2018).
And look what direction Madrid is now going.