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Brazen parking in Bonn: Drivers who use two parking spaces face penalties

Brazen parking in Bonn : Drivers who use two parking spaces face penalties

It happens again and again that a car occupies two parking spaces in a multi-storey car park in Bonn. What do the operators do against such brazen parkers and what penalties do they face?

Anyone who regularly drives into Bonn's multi-storey car parks knows the problem with parking bays that are too narrow. It is undisputed that it is becoming more difficult to park precisely due to the ever-widening vehicles. Some people make it especially easy for themselves and park their car in two parking spaces at once. While a fine may be imposed in public places, in car parks it is usually only a warning. In the worst case, you could be banned from the premises.

Bonn's multi-storey car parks are within the norm in terms of parking space width. The garage regulation stipulates that it must be at least 2.30 metres wide. A width of 3.50 metres is specified for a space for the disabled. In the past 20 years, however, cars have become wider and wider, as a study by the University of Essen-Duisburg from 2018 shows: According to this study, the width of a new car in 1990 was 1.68 metres, and by 2017 it will have risen to 1.80 metres.

"We have employees in the company who monitor this," says Dirk Wallrath. He is the operator of the Stiftsgarage in the Kölnstraße. "If a car occupies two parking spaces, we address the customer," he says. And it happens that someone accidentally gets a little bit over the line. But there is also the one who parks in the middle of it, because he wants to have enough space to get out. At peak times, for example during the Christmas season, the personnel costs are then a bit higher.

The Stiftsgarage has been around since 1956. "In the lower basement area, the parking spaces are relatively narrow," says Wallrath. But that's where the permanent parkers who know the situation are. On the upper floors, the parking spaces have been adapted to the wider cars: Up to 2.60 metres.

Bonner City Parkraum GmbH (BCP) is owned by Stadtwerke Bonn and the Parkgemeinschaft Bonn association. It maintains a total of nine multi-storey car parks in Bonn. Checks are carried out at irregular intervals by BCP employees, says Stadtwerke spokeswoman Veronika John. The car parks are not checked by city employees. "The public order office of the city of Bonn has no access rights in the garages, as these are private areas," says John.

The parking spaces comply with the current standards or those of the respective year of construction, John continues. The average width of parking spaces in the BCP car parks varies by up to half a metre. The Friedensplatzgarage is the narrowest at 2.30 metres, followed by the Münsterplatzgarage at 2.34 metres. Wider parking spaces on average are found in the Opera and Unigarage (both 2.45 metres) and the Markt and Beethoven garages (both 2.50 metres).

The Marktgarage was renovated a few years ago. The number of parking spaces fell from 350 to 279, but the parking pockets are now wider. Previously they were between 2.20 and 2.35 metres. However, concrete pillars in the car parks make it difficult to improve the width later on. "Unfortunately, widening the parking spaces is not possible everywhere for structural reasons," says John. In the latest multi-storey car park in Rabinstraße, which was only opened in May 2020, the parking spaces are the widest at 2.65 metres.

But what kind of punishment is there if you don't restrict yourself to your parking space? There is no explicit mention of occupying two parking spaces in the road traffic regulations. However, there is the language of space-saving parking - but this only applies to public spaces. Anyone who fails to comply with this is liable to a fine of ten Euro.

There is no real punishment in the BCP car parks. "If BCP employees discover a misdemeanour, customers will be informed or made aware of it by means of appropriate notices". Anyone who thinks that this is the end of the matter is mistakenly lulling himself into a false sense of security: because the employees take down the (number) plate number. "If someone is noticed several times, we ban them from the premises," explains John. Although entry is not then denied - the BCP houses do not yet have an automatic number plate recognition system at the barrier - this does provide a means of dealing with the parking offenders. As a last resort, vehicles could be towed away, for example. John also stresses that there is "no big problem" with double parkers. "Complaints in this respect are rather rare", says John.

(Original text: Thomas Leurs / Translation: Mareike Graepel)