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Transport Policy: Parking fees in Bonn to be raised significantly

Transport Policy : Parking fees in Bonn to be raised significantly

Paid parking and residents' parking will probably be expanded initially in neighborhoods with high pressure parking demand in Bonn. The plan is to increase parking fees to Cologne levels.

The declared goal of the council alliance is the comprehensive expansion of paid parking spaces in public streets. How this is to take place in the coming years can be guessed from the first motions of the coalition members from the Greens, SPD, Left and Volt, as well as from announcements. In April, the Bonn district council postponed a motion by the Left Party, according to which the parking spaces in the federal district on Baunscheidtstrasse and Ollenhauerstrasse should be subject to a charge. The administration had asked for patience and announced a parking concept for the third quarter of this year. The city had advised against deciding on the item without informing residents in advance.

The planning office is reluctant to comment on details of the concept at this stage. Andrea Schulte from the press office stated the following about the planned concept when asked: "The administration will submit a proposal as to which areas should be tackled first. Further depends on the political decisions." The city-wide parking concept is to be regularly reviewed and updated. In an interview with the GA, the head of the planning department, Petra Denny, said that she did not think it made sense to introduce a comprehensive parking management system, but that it should be introduced wherever parking pressure was high.

Alliance wants to expand existing parking zones

Nevertheless, representatives of the council alliance describe how they envision the approach strategically and also stick to the statements from the coalition agreement that parking management throughout the city remains the goal in the long term. Paid parking and, at the same time, the designation of residents' parking spaces should initially tie in with existing zones and be implemented from the inside out to the periphery. Rolf Beu of the Green Party cites Weststadt as an example, in whose streets resident parking was recently introduced. "The extension to Endenich makes sense in this case." The councilman also emphasizes that the Greens did not want to discuss the concept forever, but wanted to start implementing their political agenda quickly. In such traffic issues, the alliance had agreed to postpone agenda items at most one more time.

Gabi Mayer of the SPD, Holger Schmidt of the Left Party and Frank Fremerey of Volt cite Südstadt, Innere Nordstadt, Endenich, Kessenich and Castell as other neighborhoods with high parking pressure. Here, they say, the plans are presumably to start by limiting the space available for cars as a means of transport, but at the same time making it easier for the residents themselves to find a place.

It should be more expensive for the one as well as the other. As Schmidt told the GA, an increase in parking fees to the level of Cologne is planned. There, visitors pay four Euros an hour in public parking spaces in the city center. In Bonn, according to the 1996 fee schedule, it is 1.30 Euros per half hour near the center (the parking garages have some rates and are not charged by the city). Schmidt said a fee increase is also being considered in the centers of the city's districts, in some cases to twice that amount; there, the city currently charges 80 cents per half hour. Schmidt expects implementation during the coming year. "At the same time, we want to introduce the inexpensive student tickets for 19 Euros a month, also in order to make the connection between car traffic and local transport recognizable," Schmidt said.

The alliance estimates that it will be able to generate two million Euros in additional revenue from these price increases, which in turn will benefit the expansion of local transportation. And at the same time, there will probably be a significant increase in the cost of residents' parking permits. Currently, Bonn residents pay an administrative fee of 30 Euros per year. "We think it's appropriate that parking spaces in public spaces at least pay the price that the city pays for maintenance," Fremerey explained. According to Mayer, the administration still has to clarify how high this amount will be, especially since the legislature sets guidelines as to how high the price for residents' parking permits may be. The SPD councilwoman continued, "We will also think about how to deal with special situations, such as when someone needs a parking space because they need a car to get to work."

CDU and FDP oppose massive reduction in parking spaces

Opposition factions are extremely skeptical of the coalition's plans. "The CDU can understand that parking space management and more resident parking can be reasonable where parking space is tight and local transport connections are good. However, we think it is wrong to massively reduce parking spaces now. We must not overlook the need that will remain even after the switch to e-mobiles," said Bert Moll, planning policy spokesman for the CDU. If a doctor's assistant in Duisdorf cannot find a free parking space near her practice, it will affect those who do not have a high income anyway.

Also the FDP criticizes the method "with the large watering can“ (sic), as advice group leader Werner Hümmrich said. "To regard motorists as milking cows across the board when it comes to parking fees, I think is wrong. We should take a differentiated look and counteract where it is appropriate for traffic regulation, as we have done, for example, with resident parking on the Venusberg."

(Original text: Philipp Königs - Translation: Mareike Graepel​)