Council decides on new parking concept Charges for parking spaces in Bonn will cost twice as much in some cases

Bonn · The share of resident only parking spaces in Bonn will increase, and parking for all others will mostly come at a price. Parking fees in the inner city area and in the district centers will also be significantly increased. This was decided by the city council following a heated debate.

 The fees at public parking spaces with parking ticket machines will increase significantly.

The fees at public parking spaces with parking ticket machines will increase significantly.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

On May 15, there will be a state election and the parties are already in campaign mode. The tone in the city council has become more harsh, as could be heard on Thursday evening, especially during the debate on "parking strategy". The result: As expected, the council majority of Greens, SPD, Left and Volt voted against the opposition factions for the introduction of a city-wide parking strategy.

Words like "rip-off" or "campaign against car traffic" are only a few examples of the exchange that the opposition had with the city council coalition members in the Brückenforum. It even  caused Rolf Beu (Greens) to ask for "verbal disarmament". At the same time, Mayor Katja Dörner (Greens) painted a picture of the benefits that, in her view, the introduction of a parking strategy would have (the German word for parking strategy -Parkraumstrategie - is described on the Greens party website as :”guidelines on how we want to organize car parking in public spaces in Bonn).  "It will help the traffic transformation to move forward," she said. The parking strategy is an important lever for this, she added.  The aim is to create more space on the streets for pedestrians and cyclists, for gastronomy and leisure, and thus improve quality of life.

CDU: Parking strategy weakens the districts

Bert Moll (CDU) is normally seen as a calm member of his parliamentary group but was clearly agitated by those remarks. He said the mayor did not explain the facts, but instead held a political speech. Then he reeled off the arguments of his faction, but also of the other opposition factions such as FDP and BBB against the parking strategy, which had already been presented many times in public: It would weaken the district centers in particular, especially since motorists would have to pay for parking there on Saturdays in the future. "This will set back the city and its economy," he said, painting a rather gloomy picture in contrast to the mayor.

After all, he said, free parking on Saturdays was introduced to support local retail in the city's neighborhoods. "This is a rip-off beyond compare." In connection with the planned expansion of residents' parking to another 18 areas of the city, the CDU politician described the city's plans to increasingly house cars in neighborhood garages as unrealistic. "Where will these be built and who will operate them?" asked Moll.

Achim Schröder (FDP) sounded the same horn: It was "dishonest" to talk about a traffic transformation.  The mayor and the council majority were pursuing a "policy for academics in Endenich and Kessenich" who were not as dependent on the car as someone who lived in Bonn and had a cleaning job in the Rhine-Sieg district and had to commute. Especially since there are no alternatives for these people, as there are still no improvements to be seen in public transport.

Greens politician Beu speaks of a “milestone"

Rolf Beu, on the other hand, spoke of a "milestone" in Bonn's transport policy because public space was being divided up more fairly. "The city does not belong to the cars, but to the people." Beu recalled that the additional revenue - also from planned higher fees for residents' parking permits - will help finance school public transport tickets at a standard price of 19 euros a month.

The city council finally adopted the parking concept with a majority against CDU, FDP, BBB, AfD and Thomas Fahrenholtz (independent). The aim is now to increase the proportion of residents' parking spaces in Bonn, to make parking largely chargeable for all other motorists, and to significantly increase parking charges for all above-ground parking spaces in the city center area and in the district centers.

The first step now, in addition to an in-depth study of each of the 18 planned resident parking areas, will be a citizen information and discussion session.  "I hope you get the payback for this at the next election," shouted CDU council faction leader Guido Déus to the majority of Greens, SPD, Left and Volt. Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen, Philipp Königs Translation: Carol Kloeppel

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