Coming to Paris by SUV, 4×4 or sedan? We explain to you the issues of the vote on the increase in the price of parking

“More or fewer SUVs, and at what parking rate?” On Parisian billboards, the Paris town hall is calling on its citizens to go to the polls on Sunday February 4. But the slogan chosen by the City is misleading. If the “sport utility vehicle” – these very fashionable all-terrain leisure vehicles – appear by name on campaign posters, the vote will in reality concern the heaviest individual cars, whether or not they are flanked by the three annoying letters. We tell you everything about this Parisian election which also divides beyond the ring road.

On what subject will Parisians vote?

The question asked of Parisians is the following: “For or against the creation of a specific rate for the parking of heavy, bulky, polluting individual cars?” SUVs, these raised cars with the false air of adventurers, have won over motorists despite numerous criticisms of their pollution or their bulk. Concretely, the Paris town hall is proposing the creation of a specific parking rate – by tripling its price – for “visitors with a thermal or plug-in hybrid vehicle of 1.6 tonnes or more” or an electric vehicle “of 2 tonnes or more”, specifies the municipality. From the 1st to the 11th arrondissement, the parking hour would cost 18 euros (compared to 6 euros for other vehicles). For the districts going from the 12th to the 20th, it would increase to 12 euros (compared to 4 euros for the others).

However, it would be incorrect to present this vote as a referendum “for or against SUVs”. Because the proposed measure, if adopted, would not, in fact, concern the best-selling models on the market, such as the Peugeot 2008 and 3008, the Renault Captur or the Dacia Duster. For what ? Because most of these models weigh less than 1.6 tonnes, depending on the version, and are therefore not affected.

Finally, several districts will offer residents the opportunity to take a position on other local issues, listed here by the City of Paris.

How many people would be affected by this increase and who would be exempt?

According to David Belliard, deputy mayor in charge of mobility, thermal and hybrid cars weighing more than 1.6 tonnes represent “about 10% of the park” automobile frequenting the capital. On a constant basis, out of around 70,000 parking tickets generated each day, 7,000 vehicles would therefore be affected, he told AFP. According to Anne Hidalgo, these price increases could bring additional revenue of 35 million euros to the City.

However, the town hall has provided for numerous exemptions: “Paris residents and sedentary professionals parked in their authorized parking zone, taxi drivers in dedicated stations, craftsmen, health professionals and eligible for the professional rate, as well as people with reduced mobility holding a mobility card inclusion – parking” will not be affected by this increase.

Finally, the price increase concerns surface parking and will not impact underground parking lots and garages. Likewise, parking will remain free, for large vehicles like others, in the evening after 8 p.m., until 9 a.m. the next day, as well as on Sunday.

How will the vote take place?

To vote on Sunday, you must be registered on the electoral lists in Paris on January 8. Community nationals registered on the complementary list for the municipal elections will also be able to participate, specifies the mayor.

Voting will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in 38 locations, including a total of 222 polling stations in all districts of the capital, without proxy or electronic voting. The City of Paris has published on its website the list of these places, as well as the list of documents that can serve as identity documents. (in PDF). “In districts where a question of local interest is implemented, the voting procedures will be identical to those of the Parisian vote. The polling stations will then be equipped with two ballot boxes, one ballot box per vote (Parisian and district)”, specifies the town hall.

In order to guarantee the smooth running of the vote, a control commission was set up by the municipality. Chaired by Yves Charpenel, first honorary advocate general at the Court of Cassation, this independent collegial body will be composed “a qualified personality, two representatives of the citizens' assembly drawn by lot and two representatives of the ethics commission of the City of Paris.”

Why is Paris town hall pointing the finger at heavy vehicles?

The town hall's initiative “aims to accelerate this ecological transition in which we tackle air pollution” because “the bigger it is, the more it pollutes”, explained Anne Hidalgo on December 8. Besides this health issue“limit presence” of SUVs aims to improve “road safety, because the bigger it is, the greater the risk of accident”, she justified. There “third reason” progress is “better share public space”, added the mayor of Paris, specifying that the average size and weight of vehicles have continued to increase due to the exponential development of SUVs, which represent “now 40% of sales.

In Paris, the minimum width of pitches is 1.80 meters, including marking. However, the 100 best-selling car models in Europe have gained on average 2.5 centimeters in width since 2018, going from 177.8 to 180.3 cm, according to a report published on January 22 by the NGO Transport & Environment (YOU). Some types of luxury SUVs even exceed two meters with the mirrors folded, according to the study. These vehicles “encroach on the sidewalks or on the road”, explains Nicolas Raffin, spokesperson for T&E France, quoted by AFP. “They endanger cyclists, pedestrians, especially children, and all other motorists.”

Finally, the NGO emphasizes that, even when they are electric, the heaviest cars “consume three times more copper and aluminum and five times more lithium, nickel and cobalt than a small electric city car.” David Belliard, for his part, highlighted a “social justice tool, because the most expensive, most luxurious vehicles are occupied by the wealthiest people.”

What do Parisians think?

According to a survey carried out in January by OpinionWay at the initiative of the NGOs Respire and Clean Cities, 61% of Parisians support the implementation of parking pricing based on the weight of the vehicle. More than half of the Parisians surveyed said they had a bad opinion of these large cars (56%), mainly deploring their bulky appearance (cited by 75% of them), their responsibility in the deterioration of air quality (61%) and its negative impact on the climate (58%).

Concerning the substance of the measure, theread from the 13th arrondissement Habib Shoukry (UDC group) deplored a measure “confiscatory”, even if the project “starts from a good feeling.” “What efforts has the City made to facilitate the switch to electric power for individuals and businesses? This assessment is zero. Let the City show the way, before taxing at all costs”, did he react on.

Specifying to be “in favor of less car space, better sharing of public space”, the Modem Democrats and Ecologists group, for its part, accuses in a press release the mayor of Paris“instrumentalizing democracy.” This vote “is not intended to ask for their opinion, but to reinforce a policy”, accuses the group. “If it were really a question of more or fewer SUVs, all SUVs would be affected, and not just the vehicles of non-Parisians,” continues the press release.

Is Paris the only city to take measures of this type?

What will happen after the election?

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