Paris Goes After SUVs
Wed Jun 9, 2004 09:22 AM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - Bulky four-by-fours could be banned from clogging up the chic streets of Paris after a top official in the capital's left-wing government described them as a polluting "caricature of a car" unsuited to city life.
An anti-sports utility vehicle (SUV) resolution passed by the city council could lead to a ban on the popular vehicles in about 18 months if it is included in an overall project to improve traffic flow in the city, Deputy Mayor Denis Baupin said Wednesday.
"You have to wonder why people want to drive around in SUVs," Baupin, a Greens party member, said on Europe 1 radio.
"We have no interest in having SUVs in the city. They're dangerous to others and take up too much space."
The city council voted Tuesday to urge Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoe to consider banning SUVs, which have become popular in recent years and now make up about five percent of the French car market -- just below the western Europe average.
Baupin said Paris, which has been setting aside more lanes for buses and bicycles since a Socialist and Greens coalition took over City Hall in 2001, could not legally ban SUVs outright.
"Our idea is to limit the circulation of the most polluting vehicles," he said. "That means SUVs and lots of other vehicles that don't meet European pollution standards."
Baupin, who often cycles around Paris to promote more environmentally friendly transport, called SUVs a caricature of a car and said they were not adapted for use in a city.
"It's made for a family on vacation ... and usually they only have one person in them," he said.
"Let's be logical and only allow into the city cars that are adapted to it."