People doing yoga in the streets. Bicycles roaming freely on the roads. The center of Paris went car-free for a day, and the Guardian reported bluer skies and better moods because of it.

“Today is symbolic, it’s about giving people a dream, showing us what a city could look like without cars, a type of utopia,” a cyclist from a bike collective told the newspaper. “But we need to go further, with more and larger cycle routes, better parking spots for bicycles, slower speed limits. There’s a lot to be done.”

It’s pretty much the opposite of Honolulu, where any given day motorists spend several hours in traffic and tourists who fly into the city at night are greeted by a line of red brake lights snaking out of town.

Shawn 'Doc' Boyd checks out one of the Bikeshare bike options. Bikeshare Hawaii had four bike system choices installed that with input from the public, will choose from in the coming months.  23 aug 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Shawn ‘Doc’ Boyd checks out one of the bike options from Bikeshare Hawaii. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The terrible traffic congestion not only makes Honolulu stand out nationally, studies show sitting in your car makes people less happy and less healthy. The city also has a high rate of pedestrian deaths.

A car-free day in central Paris is an interesting, extreme example of what Honolulu could be, especially in light of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s efforts to make the city more walkable.

The mayor has been installing more bike lanes, promoting bike share, and amending land use rules to make sidewalks and building fronts more interesting and encourage development along the city’s rail line.

Read about car-free Paris for yourself here.

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