The Paris ring-road might celebrate its 40th birthday with a new speed limit of just 31mph.
Europe’s busiest motorway, the Boulevard Peripherique, is 40 years old today.
Dubbed Le Periph by the locals, the fast ring road around central Paris was completed on 25 April 1973 under President Pompidou. It is 35 kilometers (22 miles) long and carries 1.2m cars each day.
We reported in February that air quality laws were forcing a reduction of the speed limit from 80kmh to 70kmh this summer. But according to the official news agency Agence-France Presse, the authorities are now discussing a 50kph limit, just 31mph.
Also, over concerns that Le Periph is too much of a barrier between the city and the suburbs, the carriageway is being steadily covered over with gardens, apartment blocks and foot bridges in a process that is set to continue.
Central Paris itself is to expand the car free zone on the Left Bank area this summer.
While the new limit might quell the road’s fearsome reputation among UK motorists – we certainly have our own tales to tell – it is regretable that if the speed limit is cut to 50kph, Le Periph won’t be able to call itself Europe’s busiest motorway anymore.