From 11 am to 6 pm tomorrow, the streets of Paris will be completely shut down to cars and other motorized vehicles, as a way of encouraging sustainable, eco-friendly transportation. Dubbed as the “Day Without Cars”, the event will make several of Paris’ iconic locales, including the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Élysées, Place de la Bastille, the Left Bank and others, inaccessible to cars, thus allowing tourists, cyclists and pedestrians to explore, for what is likely the first time in the city’s history, without the constant blaring of horns and traffic congestion.
This practice of going car-free, even for a day, is not unique to Paris; September 22 is celebrated as the World Car Free Day every year. Several cities, in the past, have conducted similar events, mainly in an attempt to raise awareness about air pollution and the harmful effects of motor vehicle emissions. Taking place right after the European Mobility Week (held between September 16 and 22), the “Day Without Cars” project is more of a prelude to the upcoming UN COP21 Summit, scheduled for November. The spokesperson of Paris Sans Voiture, the non-profit organization behind the initiative, said:
Our project is a symbolic project. A few weeks before the COP 21, the first edition will be a landmark gesture that affirms the determination of Paris in the fight against climate change and against the pollution that makes the city breathe.
Recently, on September 19, Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden, observed its very own car-free day. That is not all, though. Countries around the world are actually looking to build entire cities that will be car-free all year round.