Parisians have agreed to increase the price of parking an SUV in their city by three times. This decision, which was decided through a public vote, is part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s ongoing efforts to decrease the number of cars on Paris’ streets and promote a more bike and pedestrian-friendly environment.
If the non-binding public referendum’s outcomes are put into action, it will lead to a three-fold increase in the cost of parking an SUV on a Paris street, amounting to $19.50 per hour.
The referendum, organized by Paris City Hall, took place on Sunday. The majority, with a little over 54%, voted in support of the measure. The turnout was low, as only around 6% of registered voters went to the polling stations.
Beneficial for the environment.
implement a new plan to reduce car traffic and
The City Hall announced that the decision for the referendum was driven by worries regarding safety, fair distribution of public areas, and environmental pollution. As Paris gets ready to put into action a fresh strategy to decrease vehicular congestion, the concerns have been taken into account.
This season, the mayor is committed to being recognized as a leader for environmentally friendly cities and sports.
Several cyclists in Paris expressed satisfaction with the notion of increased parking charges as a means of discouraging the use of oversized SUVs on the roads.
Hélène, who chose not to reveal her identity, expressed frustration with the narrow roads in Paris and the placement of bicycle lanes that require cyclists to ride against traffic on one-way streets. She also mentioned the difficulty of passing due to SUVs taking up the road.
Thalia, who identifies as both a cyclist and a pedestrian, supports the proposed hike in fees. She acknowledges that it will not affect SUV owners in Paris, but still believes it could have a positive impact. Overall, Thalia strongly supports reducing the number of cars in Paris.
Jacob, a daily cyclist in Paris, expressed a more positive attitude towards the presence of SUVs on the road. He stated, “If SUVs require extra space, then it makes sense for them to pay extra. However, I personally am not bothered by their presence. The overly large and flashy ones are rare from my observations. As for larger electric vehicles, it all depends on whether or not they require more parking space.”
He expressed his opinion that attempting to deter people from driving SUVs into the city is not a sensible action. He believes that instead of targeting vehicle size, the tax should be based on emissions.
According to City Hall, SUVs pose a greater risk as they are wider and heavier. They state that collisions involving SUVs and pedestrians are twice as likely to result in fatalities compared to collisions with regular cars.
Critics of the increase in fees, such as car organizations, have rejected the referendum as a mere attempt to improve public perception. Yves Carra, from Mobilite Club France, rejected the idea that SUVs can be easily categorized and stated to AFP that it is simply a marketing term with no real meaning. He also pointed out that certain smaller SUVs will not be affected while larger family cars will still be subject to the increase.
The council’s conservatives accused the city government of manipulating the situation.
According to RTL, France’s Minister of the Environment Christophe Bechu referred to the SUV surcharge as a form of retributive environmentalism.
If approved, it has the potential to be very profitable: According to Paris City Hall, the revised fees could generate an additional $37.5 million annually.
Over the last decade, Paris has seen a decrease in the amount of cars due to their implementation of a proactive strategy aimed at reducing traffic lanes and free parking spots, expanding sidewalks, and creating more bike lanes.
Unfortunately, despite the passage of time, the vehicles utilized by residents of Paris have increased in size. While SUVs have only recently become commonplace on the streets of the city, the central regions of Paris are still dominated by ancient and narrow roads designed for smaller modes of transportation, such as horse-drawn carriages. These streets are ill-suited for large, modern vehicles that measure over six feet in width and have steel sides.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity of SUVs in the affluent neighborhoods of Paris. They are particularly prevalent in the 16th arrondissement, known as one of the wealthiest areas of the city with its spacious streets and expansive apartments. The 16th has the highest ownership of private vehicles compared to other areas in Paris.
On Sunday at the voting locations, there were extended queues in the district despite the overall low voter turnout in the city. The proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by voters, with 82% voting against it.
Mike Xu from Paris resides in the 16th district and informed CBS News that he has been using an SUV for the past five years and has no intention of altering his routine. He expressed his preference for the switch from a sedan.
According to him, being in an SUV improves visibility. He mentioned that most of his friends own either large or compact SUVs.
He acknowledged that there are drawbacks, stating, “The roads are narrow and it can be difficult to locate a parking space.”