THE SPEED limit on Paris’s Périphérique was cut to 70kph in January 2014. Now, it could be reduced further at night, if the city’s leading transport official gets his way.
Christophe Najdovski, the capital’s deputy mayor with responsibility for transport, said that he is in favour of slashing another 20kph off the maximum speed between the hours of 10pm and 7am.
The EELV politician admitted in Le Parisien the plan to cut the limit to 50kph at night was “a personal project”, but added that it should be “discussed without taboo”.
He said that he wanted to further reduce accidents on the road, as well as noise pollution for the 100,000 residents who live near Paris’s major traffic artery - but insisted he had no plans to reduce speeds further during the day as, he said, this would defeat the “very purpose” of the Périphérique.
Mr Najdovski was speaking after Paris City Hall and the police published a joint report that said the number of accidents had fallen 15.5% year-on-year since the 70kph speed limit was introduced. In fact, the report said, the number of accidents in 2014 was the lowest on the Périphérique in 10 years.
The study also found that traffic jams were cut, and vehicles’ average speed rose at peak morning and evening times. The report said that the average morning speed increased from 32.6kph in 2013 to 38.4kph in 2014, while average evening speeds rose from 30.3kph to 33.9kph.
It also said that noise pollution had fallen to a level equivalent to a 25% drop in traffic volume during the day, and 10% at night.
The number of tickets issued for speeding, however, jumped to 461,596 in 2014, from 138,138 in the previous 12 months. City Hall said the increase could be partly explained by an increase in the number of fixed speed cameras installed on the route.
As reported, the speed limit on the Peripherique was cut to 70kph, amid much debate, on January 10, 2014.
At the time, drivers’ lobby group 40 Millions d'Automobilistes criticised the plan, claiming the only way to reduce pollution was to cut the number of older vehicles on the road. And mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said that, if elected, she would reintroduce the higher speed limit but would ban lorries and coaches that did not meet strict EU pollution standards.
A study published six months later suggested that the cut had reduced journey times for the 1.3million vehicles that use the road every day.