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Vive la France

The mayor of Paris is doing what most politicians will not.

Anne Hildalgo, the mayor of Paris, has been on quite a run soince taking office in 2014. As Hidalgo, a long-time ally of Bloomberg, prepares Paris to host the 2024 Olympics, climate change is appropriately central to her city's transformation.

From the FT:

The mayor of Paris is leading one of the most ambitious efforts worldwide to wean people off cars. She has embraced the concept of the “15-minute city”, redesigning transport, housing, jobs and public space so residents can live without long, polluting commutes. Paris is the second most congested city in Europe after London, according to analytics company Inrix. But many boulevards now have a steady trickle of cyclists. Parisians who used to enjoy driving across the city are outraged. They accuse Hidalgo of making the capital less easy and less pleasant to live in. Some on social media use the hashtag #SaccageParis — “Ransacked Paris” — to label photos of botched tree-planting and cycle lanes, as well as what they see as increased litter on the streets. Making matters worse, Paris’s buses, although not the mayor’s responsibility, have been plagued by driver shortages since Covid-19.

But the world will soon have an opportunity to judge her changes. Paris hosts the 2024 Olympics. Where today there are roadworks, there will be 60km of bicycle lanes, allowing visitors to cycle to each venue. Porte de la Chapelle will have a new sports arena, with a green roof garden. Hidalgo wants the area to be “as beautiful as Les Invalides” — a reference to the Parisian monument commissioned by Louis XIV. “Local people deserve beauty . . . There are always people saying, ‘Yes, but not now.’ And I say, ‘No, people here are in a hurry.’”