Outspoken environmentalist. Hysteric. Courageous. Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been called many names due to her mission to reduce the ill-effects of climate change and car-centered design in her city.
But the proof is in the pudding—bike ridership is up, car ownership is down and Parisians are enjoying their new green spaces.
Shortly after Mayor Anne Hidalgo took office in 2014, the first woman to ever hold the title in Paris, she began presenting bold plans to reclaim the city from motor vehicles and help curb their environmental impacts.
She first introduced Paris Breathes, banning car access in certain parts of the city one Sunday each month. During Paris Breathes events, access to electric buses and bike rentals system is free.
She then introduced and implemented a fervently opposed plan to close a 2-mile portion of an urban highway to create a promenade along the Right Bank of the Seine River. Four years later, the park is a cultural hot spot of diverse Parisians soaking in the sun, cruising on bicycles, and playing frisbee.
Her controversial but ambitious Plan Vélo outlined an 870-miles bike network, planning to build an additional 470 miles on top of the city’s 400 miles. More than 50% of the plan has been implemented, including a world-class separated bike lane on the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, wide enough for cyclists to ride four abreast.
The results are telling. In the past year, bicycling has increased by 54%. Bicyclists clock an average of 840,000 trips per day. Car trips still average at around 14.8 million daily but have dropped 5% since 2010. Car ownership in the city is declining, with only 35% of residents owning a car compared to 60% in 2001. Children are riding more than ever before.
Her ultimate goal is to create a mostly car-free city, with plans, if re-elected, to ban diesel cars by 2024 and fuel cars by 2030.
She also plans to create urban forests along the Seine River and reclaim the space around the Eiffel Tower for a park.
Paris, we envy you.
To read more about Paris’ cycling and nature-in-the-city boom, check out:
How Paris is Actually Walking the Climate-Change Walk by Mayor Hidalgo
How Bike Lanes are Transforming Paris
The Greening of Paris Makes Its Mayor More Than a Few Enemies