The Paris decision to drastically increase parking fees for heavy city off-road vehicles and other heavy cars is met with a mixed response in Germany. While some associations see the Paris approach as a model, others call for a differentiated approach to dealing with parking space and heavy cars in city centers.
German Environmental Aid (DUH) welcomed the result of the referendum in Paris, in which a majority voted on Sunday to triple parking fees for cars that exceed certain weight limits. In addition to certain SUVs, heavy sedans and vans are also affected by the regulation, which is due to take effect from September.
Wake-up call for German cities
“55 percent of Parisians have chosen livable cities with significantly fewer monster SUVs,” said DUH managing director Jürgen Resch. “This is a wake-up call for German cities to follow the Paris model and introduce higher parking fees in their city centers for city tanks, pickup trucks and other oversized vehicles.”
German law already allows municipalities to set parking prices based on the size of the parking space. Anyone who buys an oversized car will have to park it in a mobile home and truck parking lot on the outskirts of the city.
The German Association of Cities spoke out in favor of locally coordinated decisions on traffic. “The transport transition needs courageous decisions,” said the general manager of the city council, Helmut Dedy. However, an amendment to the Road Traffic Act is necessary so that German cities have more freedom to make decisions in traffic issues. “It should be possible to clarify on site which streets you can drive on, how fast, how much parking costs and how traffic is directed.”
The actual costs of maintaining parking areas
The Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) called for higher parking fees so that parked cars do not unnecessarily hinder the use of public space for other purposes and the actual costs of maintaining parking areas are covered. “However, the necessary measures to reduce and increase the cost of parking spaces should always be implemented in conjunction with the implementation of an urban transport concept that includes sufficient alternatives to owning a car,” said BUND transport expert Jens Hilgenberg. Then an increase in parking prices and differentiation according to the size and weight of the vehicles would have the greatest positive effects.
Around 1.3 million residents of the capital took part in the vote under the motto “More or less SUV in Paris?” called. Around 54.5 percent voted in favor of increasing parking fees, around 45.5 percent against it. The city administration thus pushed through its plan to charge SUVs and other heavy cars for one hour to park 18 euros instead of the usual 6 euros in the center and 12 euros instead of 4 euros in the outskirts. However, participation in the vote was only just under six percent. The city administration did not want to accept objections that the result was hardly representative. After all, tens of thousands of people took advantage of the opportunity for direct citizen participation.