French capital Paris is speeding up the plan to get car parking out of its beautiful, bustling, people-crammed streets.
The city had planned to remove 60,000 of the 140,000 surface parking spaces in Paris following an election pledge by Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
That figure has now been upped to 70,000 spaces.
Hidalgo had based her election campaign for mayor around the theme of making Paris more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. The space needed would come at the expense of car parking.
Many observers predicted that such a move would be political suicide as car parking was considered "untouchable”.
Motorist groups and their political allies ran hard against the mayor, but she prevailed comfortably.
Motorists account for 13% of all trips in Paris, yet claim 50% of the city’s space.
Hidalgo wants to carry out what she calls an “ecological transformation of the city,” a plan that includes making key thoroughfares in Paris inaccessible to motor vehicles; turning currently traffic-choked intersections into pedestrian plazas; creating “children streets” next to schools; and removing amenities for motorists.
Green spaces, vegetable plots, and playgrounds and more will take the place of car parking.
Parisians will be invited to have a say on what they will do with the former parking spaces, many of them on the roads in front of their homes.
Use of the remaining parking spaces will be “reserved for professionals who need their cars to get around,” said David Belliard, the deputy mayor of transport for Paris.
“Only three in ten Parisians still own a car today,” Belliard said, “and use it mainly on weekends. The idea is to allow motorists to park their cars underground; underground spaces are five times more numerous than those above ground.”
There are 621,600 commercial parking spaces in Paris in underground and multi-level car parks.
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