Pedestrians and bicyclists took over the streets of Paris a few days ago for the Journée Sans Voiture (Day Without Cars) event. Paris banned cars from large parts of the city center, including the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, as part of an effort to draw attention to the city’s dire pollution problem, especially in advance of climate talks which will take place in the city in December.
It was really more of an Afternoon Without Cars, lasting from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but it seems to have been a hit with Paris residents and tourists. Images from the city show crowded streets and clear blue skies. The clear skies are no coincidence in a city whose air pollution, on a peak day, can rival that of Beijing. Taking cars off the road for a day or two can have a big — but brief — impact on the short-lived chemicals that produce urban smog.
Residents and visitors took to social media to share pictures of the event. For example, Benedicte Swennen, Urban Mobility Policy Officer at the European Cyclists’ Federation, tweeted:
— Benedicte Swennen (@BeSwennen) September 27, 2015
Paris resident Lennie Nicollet tweeted, “The Paris urban space, reclaimed from cars, offers an incredibly quiet and relaxed lifestyle.”
Top image: Reuters via BBC