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Parking Fees

by nanne Sat Sep 27th, 2008 at 05:30:38 PM EST

Big election day this Sunday in Europe, with Belarus, Austria and the German state of Bavaria. Over 30 million people, altogether.

I too get a chance to cast a vote, in Berlin, though tactically, I'd probably be better adviced not to.

There's a referendum in Berlin Mitte on the extension of zones in which parking fees are levied. The machines are already operating, but a citizen's initiative has gathered enough votes to get a referendum.

As this is in a district of Berlin and not in the entire state, all EU citizens that have residency can vote.

Update [2008-9-28 10:49:29 by nanne]:Results here.

Update [2008-9-28 14:42:27 by nanne]: Preliminary results after all votes have been counted: 79,4% for eliminating parking fees; 20,6% against; participation at 11,7%. Referendum fails to overturn the extension due to not meeting the participation threshold.


I've talked to several (not right wing) people about this, and they are all overwhelmingly opposed to parking fees. Even when they don't own a car, and even when they don't live anywhere near the streets where the fees are going to be collected.

My arguments that cars should pay for the space they are using and that anything that makes driving in the city more expensive is good were not really compelling.

There's no polling to wonk over here. But a previous referendum in Charlottenburg over more zones in which parking fees are collected resulted in a resounding defeat for the zones / victory against them. And the only papers that were running stories on the referendum yesterday are owned by Axel Springer, Germany's Rupert Murdoch.

One thing that gives me hope is that the people I've talked to are all either on holiday or doing something tomorrow, so they may forget or be unable to vote, and there needs to be a turnout of 15%. I am relying on the people of Berlin Mitte not to care.

Update [2008-9-28 10:47:42 by nanne]:The citizens of Berlin Mitte don't disappoint! Participation at 16:00 was at 6%. Boots open until 18:00.

Which is what happened at the statewide referendum on keeping the Tempelhof Airport open. It was a pretty Sunday, and not enough people turned up to vote, so it will fortunately be closed. Tomorrow we'll see 19 degrees Celsius and sunshine. Monday it'll be 14, with heavy clouds. Might be the last (relatively) warm and sunny day of the year.

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Even when they don't own a car, and even when they don't live anywhere near the streets where the fees are going to be collected.

My arguments that cars should pay for the space they are using and that anything that makes driving in the city more expensive is good were not really compelling.

What were their arguments?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Sep 27th, 2008 at 05:39:13 PM EST
The money was going to be wasted, poor people would also have to pay, they wanted to have the opportunity to park for free (those with cars) even though they had never actually parked in those streets, the money would just be spent on anything and not on public transportation or protecting the environment, they had to pay €1,50 extra because they parked a minute too long in some parking house recently...

That's what I got from the conversations, in memory. There's actually one interesting thing in there (EARMARK the [expletive] money so you have an [expletive] argument!)

Then I have the arguments from the people who were behind the citizen's initiative, on paper:

  • Parking fees affect everybody (summation of people who pay, like visitors, people going to the doctor, ...)
  • Mitte is just the beginning, eventually parking fees will be everywhere, parking fees are like a domino game
  • Resident's vignettes cost money [€20,40 for 2 years, but the price is not mentioned] and don't guarantee a place
  • Parking fees don't make a contribution to environmental protection [the argument is that people stop and start more]
  • Parking fees don't free up parking space
  • Milder measures are not considered [parking discs]
  • Once parking fees are introduced, it is easy to increase them
  • Guest vignettes mean going through the bureaucracy, and paying again
  • The district has no money, parking fees bring lots of money
  • Parking is not a luxury
  • The people of Mitte are already environmentally conscious
  • There will be no less double parking if there are parking fees
  • There should only be parking fees where they make sense

A lot of this is obviously specious, mutually contradictory, etc.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Sep 27th, 2008 at 05:58:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been to Berlin. Several times. Mitte (and most of the city really) has an excellent public transit system. Even the tourist guides warn that bringing a car much farther into the city than the S-Bahn ring is nonsense. So you may colour me confused as to why Berliners want cars in the city at all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 05:26:33 AM EST
Having a car is useful for incidental purposes - going to IKEA; going to holidays in places that are hard to reach with public transportation; kiting with a few people on the Teufelsberg, as one of my friends does...

But this expansion is still in the centre of the centre, so to say. Yes, it also covers a few mainly residential blocks. But they're not the cheapest to live in at any rate.

Berlin is still far too car-centric to my taste - even though the number of cars of people is low compared to other German cities (490 cars/1000 adults), there are no large car-free streets or zones, and a lot of 4 and 6 lane steets (many with parking lanes on both sides, added).

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 06:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't been to Berlin since... 1975. At the time, me and my friends were getting around the city with the U-Bahn and the double decker buses (we were teenagers).

I didn't see much use for a car in the Stadt Mitte. It made more sense in outskirt neighborhoods like Frohnhau or when going to the Wannsee or the Tegeler See... </nostalgia>

by Bernard on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 09:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is the single most effective ay to reduce traffic in big cities (as experience in Paris has proven repeatedly).

The socialist team in power now has had a consistent policy in that respect:

  • they have turned the last remaining space of free street parking in the city into paying slots (there were still a few, including near my home);

  • more deviously, they have lowered parking fees for residents, and alloed them to pay for a full week at a time, thus encouraging locals to leave their cars in the street without worrying about going to pay daily or more, thus reducing the supply for outsiders;

  • they have reversed a longstanding policy to forve builders of new building to include underground parking space: now it' actually forbidden to include a parking below your building in Paris (again, to have residents leave their cars in the streets).

Parisians have the lowest car ownership in France (60% of households do not have a car) and these changes will not really change that (it just doesn't make sense to have a car in Paris for the majority). But, combined with plans to create bottlenecks in some of the major thoroughfares (by making them narrower), the goal i to make it ever more painful to drive into Paris. The political backlash, of course, is that this is the elite liberals that are pushing normal citizens out of their little paradise...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 06:12:57 AM EST
If you make the bottlenecks by replacing the two middle-most lanes by light rail tracks, people can still get into your little paradise, only they'll have to leave their cars behind...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 06:26:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is more than adequate in Paris. The problem is that it is not similarly dense in the suburbs, and traffic has been growing mostly in the suburbs over the past 20 years - traffic in central Paris is less today than it was 20 years ago.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 07:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A general problem that I think exists with suburbian public transportation is that it is often conceptualised as 'getting to the centre'. But the city as a concentric entity is useless as a development model. The biggest payoffs for further densification, public transportation, urbanisation all exist within the suburbs.

Light rail doesn´t make sense in much of Paris itself, for instance, but it would probably bring great benefits to the surburbs. I see that the Metropolitan region is already on this:

The Lighter Side of Paris Railway Technology

Decision-makers for Paris and the Île-de-France region seem in little doubt that the speed of service implementation and flexibility of light rail makes it a transport problem solver and that it is, in fact, back to stay.

There is a commitment to expand the format, with mode interchanges remaining to the fore in planning. The wholly new 'Y' configured Saint-Denis/épinay-sur-Seine/Villetaneuse route around the north eastern neighbourhoods would see a tram network in place, as opposed to the present single T1 line, also set for further extension.

It is unlikely, though, that Paris will again see multiple tram routes in the centre as per Brussels or Amsterdam. The principal role of modern Paris tramways is that of a high capacity direct link between outer districts, obviating the need to travel wastefully via the centre, thus also freeing capacity on radial routes. Cutting across such routes, the trams can provide any number of interchanges with SNCF Transilien services, RER and to a lesser extent in the outer districts, RATP's Metro.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 07:40:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
A general problem that I think exists with suburbian public transportation is that it is often conceptualised as 'getting to the centre'

Absolutely.  If I want to travel between my auntie and my sister on the outskirts of London I have to use my car (a 25 minute drive). otherwise I have to go from zone 6 all the way across the underground to the other side of zone 1 and then all the way back out again, which can take 2 hours.  There are buses but on the weekends one an hour and it takes at least an hour and a half.

Now if I lived in one part of London and worked in another area on the outskirts, that's a nightmare.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 08:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You van say exactly the same for Paris.
by Bernard on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 09:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in that the highway network has been designed a lot better than in London and thus, when there is no traffic, it is incredibly easy to go around Paris really quickly.

That does not help you for daily commutes, when these highways are jammed, but the rest of the time, it is really convenient to drive around Paris.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 09:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the circular RER line is long overdue. They're talking about it again, but it will take another 10 years to get there. Meanwhile, the third circulal highway around Paris is about to be completed (well, the second one in distance from from the center).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 09:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because everyone loves graphs...

From a 2004 World Business Council for Sustainable Development study (mainly car industry) -- originally a 2002 Renault publication. At least 6 year-old data, but it's the big picture...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 10:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See these arguments raised (just with Paris as example) in my dKos diary Local Rail (4/5): Light Rail, Tram-Bus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 12:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that Paris' inner suburbs, where trams are being built, are already dense enough that they'd need heavy rail. Those suburbs are the equivalent in Paris of Brooklyn in New York City. Many of the projected tramway lines have enough potential for heavy rail ; but lack of funding, very complex financing and politicking, means only trams get built. There's the project of building the Métrophérique - a metro ring around Paris, within the inner suburbs - but that is to be finished 20 years from now, and clearly lacks ambition ; it not a single line that's needed but a network, of a similar density as Paris' network.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 05:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Referendum fails to overturn the extension due to not meeting the participation threshold.

Yipee :-)

Any commentary from parties?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 06:17:44 PM EST
Neue Parkzonen:Bürgerbegehren ist gescheitert - Berlin - Berliner KurierNew Parking Zones: Referendum has failed - Berlin - Berliner Kurier
Matthias Schulze (34), einer der Initiatoren des Bürgerbegehrens, versuchte, dem Ergebnis noch etwas Positives abzuringen: "Es ist toll, dass an die 80 Prozent der Leute, die abstimmten, gegen die neuen Parkzonen waren." Dort hatte der Bezirk im April Automaten aufgestellt, die zum Teil bis 22 Uhr mit bis zu 50 Cent pro 15 Minuten gefüttert werden müssen.Matthias Schulze (34), one of the initiators of the referendum, tried to see a silver line in the result: "it's cool that 80% of the people who voted were against the new parking zones." The district had placed machines in those areas in early April, which in part have to be fed 50 cents per quarter hour, until 10 PM.
Die Bürgerinitiative habe trotz Niederlage viel erreicht, sagt Baustadtrat Ephraim Gothe (SPD). Die Kosten für eine Anwohner-Plakette sanken von 50 auf 20,40 Euro für zwei Jahre und das Bezirksamt hat sich festgelegt, in Wedding, Moabit und in der Luisenstadt keine Parkzonen einzurichten.In spite of its defeat, the citizen's initiative has achieved many thing, according to councillor for construction Ephraim Gotte (SPD). The price for a resident's certificate went down from 50 to 20,40 euros for two years and the district council had committed not to establish parking zones in Wedding, Moabit and the Luisenstadt.

Of course, promises never last. Furthermore, this still leaves a few parts of Mitte - Hansaviertel, Oranienburger Vorstadt, Tiergarten - open to expansion. But Prenzlauer Berg is probably up first (part of the Pankow district).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 at 07:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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