By Anders Lorenzen
In a referendum in the French capital, Paris, it’s citizens today (Sunday 4th of February) voted in favor of mandating large SUVs to pay three times what they pay now for parking fees.
It’s the latest move taken in Paris to tackle pollution, ease congestion and become a more pedestrian and bike-friendly city.
The referendum, less than a year after city residents voted to ban e-scooters, aims to triple parking fees for cars of 1.6 tonnes and more to €18 an hour in order to discourage “bulky, polluting” cars, City Hall said. However, the new tariff would also apply to electric cars of 2 tonnes and more.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, an environmentalist, who has introduced a string of environmental initiatives, laws and regulations under her reign said: “We’re proud of having posed an eminently environmental question at a time the environment is presented as the source of all evil. It’s a form of resistance here in Paris to this very concerning movement.”
While Hidalgo has served as mayor of the French capital, the streets of Paris have been transformed, with 84 km of cycle lanes created since 2020 and a 71% jump in bike usage between the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns and 2023, according to City Hall.
However, Parisians is very much divided on this contentious issue and these changes have angered drivers and the motorists’ lobby group “40 millions d’automobilistes” launched a petition to support drivers’ freedom to use whichever vehicle they want.