August 3, 2021

“In Paris as elsewhere, to accelerate the energy transition, we must help those it affects the most”

Chronic. The Parisian ring road is often presented not only as a stigma, but also as one of the causes of the spatial segregation which is worsening between Paris and its suburbs. As if it was enough to erase or cover this highway bleeding to restore more equality. This apparent evidence needs to be qualified. Not only because more and more municipalities in the near suburbs resemble their bordering arrondissement (Montreuil and the 20e, Montrouge and the 14e, for example). But also because the real manifestations of the widening gap are to be found in policies where “intramural” Paris, the one where we pay less local taxes while benefiting from more services, behaves as if a great desert stretched beyond the ring road.

How else to consider the decision of Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, made public on June 15, to charge the parking of non-electric motorcycles and scooters? Let’s be clear: the nuisances of the two-wheelers in question (noise, pollution) count heavily in the stress of the Parisian street, and Parisians aspire to more tranquility and more breathable air. Encouraging the reasoned use of motorized two-wheelers and electric conversion is a task of public health. As for paying to occupy part of public space, it has been imposed for ages.

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But how can we believe that such a sensitive issue affecting transport can find a lasting and socially acceptable solution on the scale of intramural Paris? No more than the Chernobyl cloud stopped at the borders of Ukraine, the fine particles emitted by heat engines are not stopped by the device and will not be by this new grant. The paid parking of motorcycles, from which Parisian residents will be virtually exempt, evokes this very discriminatory tax levied until 1943 on all goods entering Paris.

“Overcome territorial divides”

In reality, Paris largely depends on its suburbs (59% of the people who work there do not live there) and cannot be imagined as a city free of cars and motorcycles regardless of the city that surrounds it. Especially at a time when home delivery and personal services are spreading, the scale of the twenty arrondissements is hardly relevant without a minimum of solidarity.

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