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Resident parking: Freiburg tightens the screws – environmental, climate protection and sustainability, parking spaces | News | VISION mobility

According to a court ruling, the city of Freiburg has the green light to increase the fee for resident parking to EUR 360 per year, and even more for large cars. According to the Administrative Court of Freiburg, which thus rejected an urgent application by the FDP, the increase was permissible in order to reduce inner-city traffic and exhaust emissions. The “Liberals”, also advocates for motorists at the local level, had complained that the high fees were “illegally pursuing environmental and social policy goals”, as if this were reprehensible. The judges also drew the relation to an underground parking space, which is significantly more expensive at 2,280 euros per year. The price for resident parking, which was capped at 30.70 for a long time, continues to crumble after two years ago the Bundestag and Bundesrat opened up the possibility of higher fees being set by the federal states with an amendment to the Road Traffic Act. In Baden-Württemberg, which is governed by the green government, an ordinance stipulates that the municipalities can now do this themselves. Cities such as Tübingen promptly raised the fee to 120 euros and Karlsruhe to 180 euros. The German Association of Cities also considers the amount to be completely appropriate.

“Anyone who wants to park their car where parking space is scarce has to pay for it,” General Manager Helmut Dedy told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Especially in Bavaria, which is governed by the CSU, the topic is traditionally seen as less urgent. A proposal has been promised since last fall and is still pending. Parking in the most expensive city in Germany, Munich, continues to be cheaper than usual: For 30.70 euros per year. That doesn’t even cover the administrative costs, as the Agora Verkehrswende recently stated and presented a discussion paper.

“The increase in resident parking fees is overdue. For a long time, the fees were far too low. Low tolls encourage cars to be left in valuable public space and held on to even when the vehicles are rarely driven. Higher fees make it easier for residents to find a parking space and are also financially affordable for most of those affected. Increasing the fees for resident parking means eliminating an outdated car privilege and thus relieving the general public,” explains Wiebke Zimmer, Deputy Director of Agora Verkehrswende.

Even 360 euros per year (as decided as a basic fee in Freiburg im Breisgau, for example) meant that the parking permit costs less than 1 euro per day, which for an average car still only accounts for about 7 percent of the total annual cost, eh Agora calculates.

Cheaper parking with a small car

As an additional measure that can benefit low-income households, the think tank recommends differentiating the amount of the fee according to the size of the vehicle. You would then have to pay more for a large car than for a small one, because large cars take up more space. This is an advantage for people who have less money because they drive a large car less often. Less than one in ten large cars belongs to a household with a low or very low economic status.

According to Agora, more than half of the households with a very low economic status (53 percent) do not own a car at all, so they basically use public transport as well as footpaths and cycle paths. According to estimates, only around two percent of households in Germany can hardly afford a car and are still dependent on it. And only a portion of that 2 percent live in densely populated areas where resident parking privileges exist or are expected. For most households, therefore, higher fees for resident parking would not be a major concern.

Relief for clearly defined low-income groups

The organization advocates that each municipality should decide whether further relief is required based on the situation on site. Legally permissible are the reductions for clearly defined groups, for example people who receive social assistance or housing benefit, or people with disabilities. This assessment is supported by legal experts consulted by Agora Verkehrswende. As a practical example of how discounts and exemptions for resident parking can be regulated, the think tank refers to the city of Freiburg im Breisgau.

No “fee increase”, but reduction of outdated car privileges

It is also important to pay attention to particularly sensitive communication in the course of the fee adjustment. The think tank recommends that the municipality could, for example, point out that the costs for resident parking were previously financed by the general public because the fees did not cover costs.

“Our paper is intended to support states and municipalities in classifying the discussion on the fees for resident parking permits, especially when it comes to taking social aspects into account. Where the federal states have cleared the way, municipalities can use the adjustment of the fees to make local road traffic fairer and more sustainable,” says Wolfgang Aichinger, project manager for urban mobility at Agora Verkehrswende.

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