Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to convert one lane of the city motorway into a green space. One of the three remaining lanes should also be reserved for buses, taxis and carpools, Hidalgo announced on Wednesday. The approximately 35-kilometer-long motorway ring around the French capital is currently used by around one million drivers a day, a good 80 percent of them sitting alone in their vehicle.

At the same time, Hidalgo said goodbye to the long-held goal of reducing the maximum speed on the so-called Périph from 70 to 50 kilometers per hour. “That might happen later,” she said.

In a first stage, one lane will be reserved for everyone involved in the sporting event during the 2024 Olympic Games. This lane will then be reserved for public transport and carpooling. Parisian traffic officer David Belliard estimates that around 80,000 cars could be saved on the city motorway through better use of carpooling.

By 2030, one of the four lanes should then be converted into a “green belt”. 20,000 trees are to be planted on the approximately ten hectares.

The socialist Hidalgo, who failed miserably with her presidential candidacy, has been trying since her election defeat to show initiative again as mayor. She immediately drew criticism from the prefecture for a recently presented plan to green and calm traffic on the Champs-Élysées boulevard.

In the case of the city highway, too, the prefecture emphasized that it had a say in the decisions. For their part, the opposition accuses Hidalgo of a lack of planning. “There was not the slightest investigation into the consequences of such a decision for the Parisians and the people in the greater Paris area,” criticized the right-wing Republicans.

The leader of the Ile-de-France region, the conservative politician Valérie Pécresse, organized an online poll in 2021, according to which 90 percent of the participants were against the reduction of lanes. According to the region, 80 percent of users of the city motorway are non-Parisians.