Bike-friendly Paris votes on raising parking fees for SUVs

Under Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the streets of Paris have been transformed, with 84 km of cycle lanes being created since 2020 and a 71% jump in bike usage

Reuters
Published : 4 Feb 2024, 06:06 AM
Updated : 4 Feb 2024, 06:06 AM

Paris holds a referendum on Sunday asking Parisians whether the city should impose a parking surcharge on large SUVs, as the French capital pushes on with its multi-year plan to become a fully bikeable city.

Sunday's referendum, which comes less than a year after city residents voted last year to ban e-scooters, aims to triple the parking fees for cars of 1.6 tonnes and more to 18 euros ($19.4) per hour, to discourage "bulky, polluting" cars, City Hall said.

The new tariff would also apply to electric cars of 2 tonnes and more.

"Heavier, more dangerous, more polluting... SUVs are an environmental disaster," Emmanuel Gregoire, the deputy mayor of Paris said on X.

Under Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the streets of Paris have been transformed, with 84 km of cycle lanes being created since 2020 and a 71% jump in bike usage between the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns and 2023, according to City Hall figures.

The changes have infuriated car drivers, however.

The 40 millions d'automobilistes car driving lobby launched a petition to support drivers' freedom to use whichever vehicle they want. SUVs have become increasingly popular in France, favoured by families in particular.

"We must firmly oppose these attacks on freedom pursued under false green pretexts," the group said. "If we don't stop it now, this unjustified rebellion led by an ultra-urban and anti-car minority will spread like gangrene to other cities."