Tag Archive: parking

  1. European cities consider measures against SUVs following Paris referendum

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    Sources: CNBC, Vias

    Citing safety and environmental concerns, cities across Europe are following Paris’ lead with new laws aiming to discourage citizens from buying SUVs

    Paris SUV parking charge

    In a recent referendum, the majority of Parisians voted to increase parking fees for SUVs in an attempt to discourage more users from choosing this mode of transport. Due to their larger size, SUVs emit more emissions and pollute the environment more than other vehicles, as well as being a concern for road safety. Other cities have since taken action following the Paris vote, and a report also highlights the dangers these vehicles can pose to other road users.

    Recent report on SUVs causing increased injuries in road collisions

    Belgian knowledge institute Vias has also reported on the vehicle characteristics that affect injury severity after analysing all collisions between 2017 and 2021, involving 300,000 car occupants and vulnerable road users. The results show that vehicle mass plays an important role in the impact of a collision, with drivers of heavier vehicles more likely to be protected by the vehicle (injury risk in a collision decreases by 25% for SUV drivers), but individuals hit by them being more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries (injury risk increased by 20% for car occupants that collided with an SUV).

    These findings also have concerning implications for the safety of other road passengers such as cyclists and pedestrians. Vias reported that the risk of fatal injuries increases by 30% if either a cyclist or pedestrian gets hit by a car with a hood that is 10cm higher than average.

    Cities in Europe also implementing policies to curb SUV sales.

    With reports on sales of SUV vehicles on the increase, Paris is not alone in its bids to decrease the popularity of heavier SUV vehicles:

    • Paris’ SUV referendum originally followed the initiative of fellow French city Lyon, which had already announced a similar policy to enforce higher parking charges for heavier vehicles, which will be applied next June.
    • Another city in France, Grenoble, has already enforced a higher environmental tariff for heavier vehicles in car parks and is now also considering taxing SUVs as an additional initiative, as confirmed by the mayor’s spokesperson to CNBC.
    • French city Grenoble, meanwhile, has already implemented a higher environmental tariff in car parks for heavier vehicles, and a spokesperson from the mayor’s office in Bordeaux told CNBC that the city and the mayor are “at the reflection stage on the subject of taxing SUVs.”
    • Meanwhile in Germany, the city of Tübingen has introduced a six-fold increase in the annual cost of resident parking permits to 180 euros for vehicles with a combustion engine, that weigh over 1.8 metric tons.
    • The mayor of Hannover in Germany, told CNBC that after the Paris vote, residents of the city would “also have to face the question of how we deal with vehicles that take up more space.”

    Meanwhile, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan implied that he would be paying attention to the effectiveness of these policies. It will be interesting to see the ongoing effects of these SUV policies, and if other cities will also join on trying to mitigate SUV usage due to road safety and environmental concerns.

  2. Newly-sold passenger vehicles are getting one centimetre wider every 2 years

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    Unchecked, expanding car sizes are becoming too wide for standard street parking

    In a recent revelation, Transport & Environment’s (T&E) research exposes a concerning trend in the automotive industry: new cars in Europe are widening by 1 cm every two years. The primary driver behind this expansion is the soaring popularity of SUVs. The widening trend poses a significant challenge to urban spaces, with over 50% of new vehicles becoming too wide for standard on-street parking.

    As of the first half of 2023, the average width of new cars reached 180.3 cm, a noticeable increase from 177.8 cm in 2018. T&E warns that without legislative intervention, this trend is poised to persist, as current regulations allow new cars to match the width of trucks. The consequences are evident in major cities like London, Paris, and Rome, where 52% of the top 100 car models sold in 2023 exceeded the minimum specified on-street parking space of 180 cm.

    Large luxury SUVs, in particular, showcase remarkable growth, with the Land Rover Defender expanding by 20.6 cm in six years and the Mercedes X5 by 6 cm. This widening phenomenon not only reduces road space for other vehicles and cyclists but also endangers pedestrians. Crash data reveals a 30% higher risk of fatalities in collisions involving vehicles with increased height.

    Recognizing the severity of the issue, several European cities have already implemented stricter parking rules for SUVs. Paris is taking a pioneering step by proposing a referendum to triple parking fees for heavy cars, with a recent poll indicating strong support from around two-thirds of Parisians.

    T&E advocates for a comprehensive approach to address this challenge. They call for a review of the maximum width of new cars by EU lawmakers during upcoming legislative updates. Additionally, city authorities are urged to implement parking charges and tolls based on vehicle size and weight, ensuring that larger vehicles contribute more for utilizing valuable urban space.

    The widening of cars may seem like a subtle shift, but its impact on urban life is substantial. As Parisians prepare to vote on February 4th, they have a unique opportunity to set a precedent that could influence other European cities to prioritize pedestrian safety, reduce congestion, and create more sustainable urban environments. The call for legislative action is clear – it’s time to curb the widening of cars and preserve our urban spaces for the benefit of all citizens.

  3. Prague 1 Municipal District bans e-scooter parking

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    Source: TheMAYOR.eu, Prague Monitor

    The municipal district, which includes much of the medieval historic heart of the city, has unanimously agreed a motion to prohibit the parking of electric scooters in its public spaces.

    In a similar vein the the Paris restrictions, and other proposals across Europe, Prague has decided to place limits that forbid the parking of shared e-scooters within its central streets and parks. The district also plans to approach the municipality to extend this ban to cover the entire conservation area.

    The move appears to be motivated by concern for public safety, as well by numbers of tourists unfamiliar both with the vehicles and the local streets. Co-sponsor Pavel Marc (Praha 1 Sobě) was quoted as saying, “Having relatively hefty machines, often occupied by two people, constantly cluttering our sidewalks and endangering our elderly population is incompatible with life in this part of the city,” 

    Though the motion prohibits parking, there is some leniency in the fact that it does not forbid e-scooters from passing through the zone. Current affected operators in the city include Lime and Bolt.

    It was reported that Miroslav Stejskal, director of the Prague 1 municipal police, shared that officers had dealt with 4,352 scooter-related offences and issued fines amounting to approximately CZK 1.1 million (about 45,000 euros) over a six month period. This is in contrast to the number of offences related to cyclists in the same period, which numbered 560, or about eight times less.

  4. Freiburg SUV Parking fee overturned

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    Source: Saz Bike

    The Federal Administrative Court has reversed Freiburg residents’ parking fees that had been based upon the length of their car, deeming them invalid. The 13th June decision doesn’t influence the standard fee of 360 euros per year, however.

    Freiburg had charged residents 30 euros per annum to use residential parking spaces. On 1st April 2022 a tiered levy was introduced, dependent on the length of the vehicle; 240 euros (up to 4.20 meters), 360 euros (from 4.21 to 4.70 meters) or 480 euros (from 4.71 meters).

    Reduced fees were granted for residents receiving certain social benefits or those with disabilities, including individuals with an orange parking permit. These charges amounted to 60 euros, 90 euros and 210 euros. Those regarded as severely disabled with blue badges remained completely exempt.

    Car length charge disparity

    As an example of the resident’s park area charges, let’s assume a Freiburg resident applicant owns a motor vehicle that he or she already has a residential parking permit for. The resident’s first protest against the charges was to the Administrative Court of Baden- Württemberg and was unsuccessful. However, on appeal, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig deemed the charges worthless. Residential parking fees are regulated by federal law under the Road Traffic Act and cities need to abide by these laws. The car length charges were regarded as a violation of equality and unrepresentative of fairness, particularly as a 50cm difference in length could see a doubling of the fee in the most extreme cases.

    Yearly parking fee

    What was deemed as fair and effective by the Federal Administrative Court was the 360-euro annual parking fee. More information on the findings can be found here.

    Similar charges elsewhere

    Freiburg isn’t the only city to have had logistic charges imposed. In Tübingen, the resident’s parking fee is related to the weight of the car: For SUVs weighing 1.8 tons or more, the annual fee increases by 50 percent.

  5. Parking space solutions for Amersfoort’s shared bicycle and scooter scheme

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    Source: Fietsberaad Crow

    Sixteen designated parking spaces have been set aside in the centre of Amersfoort in a quest to resolve the annoyance of irresponsibly parked electric scooters, shared by the city community. Similarly built hubs are also due for development in nearby local areas.

    Residents have begun to protest against the often-abandoned vehicles, which have become hazardous for dwellers. A recent evaluation of the shared mobility scheme found that between January and August of 2022, bad parking accounted for over half of complaints. It’s believed that introducing designated parking areas will not only make the area safer, but will also make it easier to find one of the shared vehicles.

    300 shared bicycles and 300 shared scooters are currently available for use by Amersfoort’s 150,000 inhabitants, although these numbers have reduced from 12,000 in mid-2022, due to two of five providers withdrawing from the sustainable transport scheme. However, the evaluation report concluded that half of the users have left their car at home in favour of the scooters, with the largest demographic under the age of 29. The main motives for the popularity were saving time, not needing to own a scooter or bike, and to have fun. From the reports, scooters have proved more favourable than the shared bicycles.

    The evaluation was based upon Amersfoort residents’ survey answers, data from the providers, reports to local government and results from a survey of MBO students.

  6. Brussels-Capital Region municipality, Uccle, bans shared scooters

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    Source: Legaal Rijden, Peter

    Just south of the center of Brussels, residents have become increasingly frustrated with the nuisance of shared e-scooters, leading to a complete ban in the municipality.

    In Uccle, e-scooters have created major concerns due to the way in which riders were ditching their means of transport. Shared public spaces were overrun much to the frustration of city-dwellers, resulting in a complete ban on the shared micromobility fleets.

    The Brussels municipality has this week demanded by letter to the operators of shared scooters that the shared scooters must be removed from the streets within 10 days. They must also ensure that the shared scooters are no longer parked within the municipal boundaries. The new rules do not apply to private e-scooters and driving through the municipality on an e-scooter is still allowed.

    Belgium’s e-scooter and LEV legal backdrop continues to shift following the devices’ rise to popularity from 2018 onwards. In the last two years, bans have been placed on riders below the age of 16, the two-person riding of e-scooters, sidewalk riding, and limitations have been placed on speed in public areas. The latest development is another step toward Belgium finding a system that works for all citizens.

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