The French capital yesterday hosted "the annual car-free day it launched six years ago and which is now copied by 1,100 other cities, most of them in Europe," AFP reports. Car-free day came just several days before the annual Paris Auto Show is set to open this weekend.
The left-leaning Paris city government has tried to reduce the influence of private motor vehicles there, adding bus lanes and bicycle paths. It's also considering banning large SUVs.
But the more conservative national government is much less enthusiastic about the effort, AFP says. "As a result, the car-free day introduced in 1998 by the then-Socialist government is in decline. In 2002, 98 French cities and towns participated. Last year, it was 72."
More than a thousand other communities in Europe joined the effort to discourage auto use. However, some were less successful than others. "The Automobile Association has confirmed that European Car Free Day turned out to be the busiest day of the month so far on Dublin's roads," one Irish news site reports.