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Parisian citizens face a new referendum about SUVs on their streets

74 days ago

2 minutes

Source: The Mayor EU

The French capital will have a vote on a new mobility policy regarding sports utility vehicles

Authorities have organised a referendum to take place on February 4th about whether parking price rates for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) should be increased.

SUVs are the largest type of private car, and are seen by many as heavy and bulky, causing high pollution on the roads and increased casualties, so voters will be asked if their owners should be charged specific rates for parking them around Paris.

Why are SUVs the target?

This is the second traffic and public space referendum that Paris’ local government has organised within 12 months. In April, the French capital caught the attention of European media and beyond with the news that it was letting its residents decide whether they’d like to ban publicly shared scooters from its streets.

The majority of votes said yes to this, and made Paris an interesting example of participatory democracy in daily matters. With a second referendum on the way, some are wondering if referendums will be a regular occurrence for traffic policy in Paris.

If the vote goes the same way for SUVs, local authorities have proposed tripling visitor (non-resident) parking rates. This would mean SUV parking in Parisian districts 1-11 would be €18 per hour, and for districts 12-20 it would be €12 per hour – if approved.

It’s possible that with new financial obstacles in place, the popularity of SUVs and 4x4s could decrease in France.

For 30 years, the average size and weight of cars in France has increased, taking up more and more space on the road, on sidewalks and in public spaces generally. Within this period, cars have reportedly become heavier by almost 250 kilos; in 1990, the average vehicle weight was 975 kg and today it is 1,233 kg.

The Mayor.EU highlights that even if the number of largest cars drop, then an issue still remains with the large sizes of the remaining cars on the streets that contribute to road pollution, which could counteract any positive effects, and therefore fail to benefit the environment.

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