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the poor record of the closure of the bank lanes

A study criticizes the results of the closure of the Parisian bank lanes, pointing out the postponement of traffic on the ring road and the increase in pollution.

In an effort to reduce congestion and pollution in central Paris, Anne Hidalgo has taken a series of measures aimed at restricting traffic in the capital since taking office as mayor in 2014. Among these, one is probably the most symbolic: the closure of bank lanes. In 2016, the Mayor of Paris signed the final closure of the Georges Pompidou route, which made it possible to cross Paris from west to east via a regulated lane (therefore prohibited for bicycles, pedestrians, scooters, etc.). A measurement strongly criticized, and accused of making life more difficult for those who have to cross the city, without really having an impact on pollution. TheInstitute of Public Policy (IPP) has just published a study to understand the real consequences.

No more traffic jams on the ring road, hours of wasted travel

According to the study, the cars which could not cross the city because of the closure of the lanes on the banks did not disappear: they were reported on the device. In total, the study shows that traffic increased by 15% on the southern portion of the “periphery”, in a West-East direction. Logical: this was the direction taken by those who used the Georges Pompidou route. The result is predictable: increased traffic jams, and therefore travel times. The study estimates the waste of time at 6 minutes on average for those who are directly affected by this postponement of traffic flow. Multiply that number by the hundreds of thousands of cars that use the Boulevard Périphérique each day, and the extent of the lost time becomes evident.


Pollution now affects more people

But what about Anne Hidalgo’s primary objective, reducing automobile-related pollution? Again, this is a failure measured by the PPI study. Worse: researchers show that more people are now affected by an increase in pollution, compared to those that were spared by local decreases. In fact, pollution has declined in the heart of Paris, around the closed bank lane. But these reductions only affect a population of around 22,000 people. Contrasted with the 47,000 people living near the southern ring road, where pollution has greatly increased, due to the postponement of traffic …

What alternative to reduce pollution?

A mathematical loss in terms of public health, therefore. But not for everyone: the inhabitants of central Paris, voters of Anne Hidalgo, have seen a slight drop in pollution. Pollution carried over to populations living outside the peripheral belt.

According to this study, if the objective is to sustainably reduce traffic and pollution, the outright closure of lanes is not desirable. An alternative is to set up urban tolls, in order to be able to regulate the flow of traffic according to the conditions. For now, the next measure of the town hall will be the generalization of 30 km / h in the capital, which should be implemented by the end of the year.

Source: Institute of Public Policy via Le Monde

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