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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 15:42 GMT
Paris to cut city centre traffic
Paris traffic
Many roads in central Paris are clogged with traffic
The Paris mayor's office has announced ambitious plans for a sharp reduction of traffic in the city centre.

Four districts in the heart of Paris could be closed to all but local residents' vehicles by 2012.

Denis Baupin, the Green Party official in charge of Paris transport issues, said the three-phase project included road-narrowing and a new cycle lane.

The phase one plans were already far advanced and would be presented to the city council soon, he said.

The aim is to impose a speed limit of 30km/h in arrondissements (districts) one to four and create a cycle lane along the north bank of the Seine, as well as keeping traffic away from the Louvre and narrow major roads in the historic heart of Paris.

In phase two, roads surrounding the shopping mall of Les Halles would be pedestrianised, in line with a major redevelopment project there.

Phase three would see the whole area from the Place de la Bastille in the east to the Place de la Concorde in the west closed to non-residential traffic.

Mr Baupin said the plan had been drawn up by the same consultancy that worked on London's congestion charge system.

But "a toll system would not be a good solution for Paris", he said.

He pointed out that "50% of the cars in the city centre are just passing through".

Mayor Bertrand Delanoe's spokesman promised "broad consultation" on the traffic plans.

Map of proposed traffic-free zones in central Paris

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