Paris alternates traffic to reduce choking smog levels

PARIS (AP) — Paris authorities imposed 24-hour emergency measures Monday to limit traffic after record levels of pollution, banning cars with even-numbered plates from operating within the French capital.

Pleased with sharp reduction in traffic, officials decided not to extend the measures another day, when cars with odd-numbered plates would have been grounded.

Similar alternate-day methods were implemented last spring, a time that’s prone to lingering pollution because of specific weather patterns in the Paris area.

Public transportation has been free over the weekend and continued Monday in a bid to lure drivers away from their cars.

But some Parisian residents believe that taxpayers’ money would be better spent seeking out ecological alternatives.

“It would be good if authorities rather looked to car makers that manufacture cars that pollute less. I am pretty sure that somewhere there are innovative solutions,” said Mireille Castel.

“We should give more place to hydrogen, electricity, hybrid cars. I don’t believe at all in this alternating traffic system, I don’t believe (it works),” said resident Frederic Lebel.

“Clean” cars, like hybrid or electric-powered vehicles were exempt from the ban — which Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo trumpeted as having already reduced by 40 percent the levels on Monday’s city traffic.

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