Drivers of bigger cars will be expected to pay more for parking in Paris from the start of 2024. It’s an attempt to squeeze SUVs out of the busy city streets and encourage more people to take alternative forms of transport, like bicycles, scooters and, er, their own feet.
At the end of May 2023, Paris city councillors voted unanimously to adopt a plan put forward by the Green Party. The decision follows a similar one taken by Lyon city officials just days before.
The finer details and actual pricing haven’t been published yet. What we do know, however, is there’ll be some exemptions made for disabled drivers and large families, while low income families will get a slightly different price.
More broadly though, this is a ‘progressive pricing for parking’ model. It'll take into account the length of the stay, the powertrain and the size and weight of a vehicle to calculate the cost to park in a specified area of the city, starting with the central four arrondissements.
Moving east from the Place de la Concorde towards the Opera House in Bastille and moving south from the Grevin Museum to a couple of streets south of Notre Dame Cathedral on the south side of the Seine, the area covers a chunk of iconic Parisian landmarks, like Garnier Palace, le Louvre and the Pompidou Centre.
Deputy mayor of the 18th arrondissement Frédéric Badina-Serpette, councillor Fatoumata Koné and their band of pedestrian-centric officials cite a ton of reasons they want big cars out.
In addition to ‘responding to the climate emergency’, Badina-Serpette targets the trend of car makers doing away with estates and family minivans. He said the aim is "to focus on an absurdity: auto-besity … the inexorable growth in the weight and size of vehicles circulating in our cities, and particularly in Paris", as reported by The Guardian.
Apparently the number of SUVs in Paris has increased to 60 per cent in the last four years. Moreover, SUVs make up 15 per cent of private vehicles parked overnight in France's capital.
In its proposal, the group stated that "59 per cent of the fine particles emitted by recent road vehicles no longer come from the exhaust pipe, but from the abrasion of the tyres, the road surface and the brakes according to a 2022 study by (the body for ecological transition) ADEME", so it might mean in time, not even electric SUVs are safe.
The proposal also reckons that taller cars, like SUVs, make vulnerable road users like pedestrians more intimidated since "their bumpers are at the level of vital organs" and "cause more serious accidents."
This isn’t the first time these suggestions have been put forward. Conversations about banning SUVs from Paris city centre have been around since 2004. Similar conversations have long been debated in London, too.
STORY Cat Dow