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Here’s why Paris lowered its speed limit to just 19 mph

Paris traffic

Drivers will need to slow down even more around Paris.

Tim Graham/Getty Images

Paris is setting its speed limit at 19 mph — or 30 kph if you’re more metric-minded. Reuters reported on a radio interview Wednesday in which the ciy’s Deputy Mayor David Belliard described the measure as not “anti-car,” but more pro safety and environment. The lower speed limit, down from 50 kph (31 mph), is meant to help improve air quality in France’s capital city and reduce the number of crashes on local roads.

Despite the lower general limit, some areas will still remain at 50 kph, such as the Champs Elysees. Elsewhere in the city, officials continue to emphasize the benefits of walking, cycling and public transportation.

The latest measure comes after Paris banned older diesel cars from its roads, reduced available parking to limit car use and added kilometers of new bike lanes, according to the report. France and other European Union countries continue to enact stricter measures to curb emissions production. The country plans to ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2040, though climate activists urge the country to change that deadline to 2030. 

Although no longer part of the EU, the UK announced it will ban the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels come 2030. These measures won’t restrict used car purchases, but any new vehicles on sale will have not feature an internal-combustion engine under the hood.

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