Paris’ mayor Anne Hidalgo arrives at place de la Bastille on a bicycle to attend the “car free” day
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has won reelection in the French capital. The widely expected announcement was made on June 28.
Hidalgo, Mayor since 2014, beat conservative candidate Rachida Dati in France’s municipal elections, winning 50.2% of the ballot compared to Dati’s 32%. Agnes Buzyn trailed in with just 16%.
The second round of the municipal elections, which had been postponed at the start of the coronavirus crisis, witnessed a record low turnout thanks to concerns over COVID-19. Only 40% of voters cast ballots in the elections held in cities across France, and they did so using their own pens (mail-in voting isn’t legal in France).
As part of her manifesto Hidalgo plans to turn the French capital into a myriad of neighborhoods where “you can find everything you need within 15 minutes from home.” But, preferably, not by car.
Instead, the Socialist Party politician wants more Parisians to walk and cycle. Plans for the “city of fifteen minutes”—or, Ville Du Quart D’Heure—were unveiled on January 21 by Hidalgo’s reelection campaign, Paris En Commun. The plans, which aim to transform Paris into a people-friendly city, build on Hidalgo’s “Plan Vélo” transport changes made during her current term of office, which has included removing space for cars and boosting space for cyclists and pedestrians.
The 15-minute city will involve reshaping the streets of Paris. PARIS EN COMMUN
Hidalgo unveiled more people-first plans for Paris during a hustings hosted in a bike shop on January 28, including for every street in the French capital to have a cycle path, and for all of the city’s bridges to have protected cycleways.
“If you liked Season 1 [of Plan Vélo] , you will love Season 2,” she insisted. On January 29, Hidalgo revealed that the space required to make Paris cyclist-friendly would mostly come at the expense of motoring. Under her plans Paris will remove 72% of its on-street car parking spaces. According to a 2019 study by Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme (Apur) there are 83,500 on-street parking spaces in Paris—Hidalgo plans to remove 60,000 of them.
(There are 621,600 parking spaces in total in Paris, most of them are domestic ones or commercial car parks.)
Hidalgo’s victory will now allow these eco-friendly moves—and others—to go ahead. She has a six-year term of office and will be able to push through many if not all of the measures she has promised.