Parisians vote to triple parking charges for SUVs

Residents of Paris yesterday voted for a huge increase in parking charges for the heaviest, bulkiest and most polluting SUVs in the capital.

From September 1st, parking fees for SUVs  in the centre of Paris will jump from €6 to €18 per hour and further out from €4 to €12 per hour.

Despite the referendum attracting attention from around Europe, it didn’t seem to spark as much interest in the city itself. 42,415 votes were cast to in favour of the increased charges (54.55% of the total) but this represents only 3% of those eligible to vote. 

The proposition put to the population was: ‘For or against the creation of a specific rate for the parking of heavy, bulky, polluting private cars?’

The City of Paris had described why the vote was taking place:  ‘The consultation aimed to address several issues of safety, sharing of public space and pollution. If, for the past ten years, the place of the car has continued to decrease in Paris, at the same time, the average size of cars has increased in the capital.

‘For three decades, the average size and weight of cars in France have increased, taking up more and more space on the road, sidewalks and public space in general: in less than thirty years, cars have become heavier by nearly 250 kilos. The average weight of a vehicle was 975 kilos in 1990, today it is 1,233 kilos.

‘Finally, due to their size, SUVs are also more dangerous for pedestrians: in the event of a collision with a child, an adult or an elderly person, these accidents involving an SUV are twice as deadly for pedestrians as with a standard car.’

Jens Mueller, Deputy Director of Clean Cities, says: ‘Today’s vote is an important message from Parisians that monster SUVs are simply incompatible with urban life. Paris has already leapfrogged towards a city where people can easily walk, cycle and enjoy liveable neighbourhoods. Today’s vote takes Paris even closer to the vision of a truly people-centred city. Cities across Europe will hopefully be inspired to follow the example of the French capital.’

Tony Renucci, director of French clean air group Respire, a local partner of the Clean Cities coalition, says: ‘The result of the vote is a victory for Parisians’ quality of life. By making SUVs pay for the cost and nuisance they cause, Paris is sending a signal that these monsters on wheels are not welcome on our streets. It’s also excellent news for air quality, road safety and rebalancing public space in cities’.


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