The ring road war will take place. Clément Beaune, who has never hidden his opposition to the Paris town hall's plan to lower the speed to 50 km/h on the ring road, warned that the State "will not validate" the project. “I think it is not a good idea in the short term to have this speed limit,” defended the Minister of Transport on France Info Thursday morning. “At the end of 2024, we will not make the decision, we will not validate the decision,” insisted Clément Beaune.
Contacted, the minister's office indicates that this invalidation on the part of the State means that the speed limit "will not take place" on the dates planned by the 2024-2030 Climate Plan presented a few days ago by the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo. His first deputy, Emmanuel Grégoire, nevertheless indicated during this presentation that “the City can legally make this decision”.
“I confirm to you that we will lower the speed,” he repeated this Thursday during a press conference, emphasizing again that a mayor “can, within the framework of his police powers, reduce the speed at reasons of safety or the environment. The exceptional regime allowing the ring road to have a speed greater than 50 km/h currently requires the town hall to involve the State. But, according to the community's legal analysis, lowering this speed to 50 km/h de facto eliminates this exceptional regime.
The first deputy mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire had already been outraged earlier on the social network X (formerly Twitter) at the decision of the Minister of Transport. “More than 500,000 people are affected by pollution from the ring road. We have done extensive work with all political groups and neighboring municipalities for 5 years already,” argued Anne Hidalgo’s right arm. The Paris town hall evokes “a historic and therefore unmissable opportunity” to take advantage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (JOP) to complete this project.
Same indignation from David Belliard. The Parisian deputy in charge of mobility evokes a “small controversy” launched by the government, which “gives in to the sirens of pro-car lobbies”. “It is unbearable that this lack of courage is to the detriment of the 550,000 people living near the ring road (...) The increase to 50 km/h is the first step in the transformation of the ring road into an urban boulevard, which should be a horizon that brings us all together.” “That’s the meaning of history. I will not give up, unlike this government which talks a lot about ecology but never does it!”, he added.
The Paris ring road is one of the busiest urban routes in Europe: more than a million vehicles every day, mainly from neighboring departments. This is the reason why the decision of the Paris town hall arouses political indignation, in particular from the president of the Île-de-France region who asks to involve the neighbors of the capital more.
A first reduction in speed to 70 km/h on the Paris ring road was decided in 2014 by the prime minister at the time, Manuel Valls. In addition to a limitation of 50 km/h following the JOP, Paris town hall also intends to reserve the left lane of the main road for carpooling.