Paris Just Made Your SUV a Lot Costlier

City of Lights votes in favor of eye-popping parking fees for SUVs ahead of Olympic Games
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2024 11:05 AM CST
Parking an SUV in Paris Just Got a Lot Pricier
An SUV drives on the Champs-Elysees, near the Arc de Triomphe, on Wednesday in Paris.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Parisians voted Sunday to muscle SUVs off the French capital's streets by making them much more expensive to park, the latest leg in a drive by Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo to make the host city for this year's Olympic Games greener and friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists. More than 54% of the votes cast in the low-turnout election supported the measure to triple parking fees for large SUV drivers from out of town to $19.50 per hour in the city's center. Only 5.7% of the 1.3 million eligible voters cast ballots, Le Monde reported. Hidalgo argued that SUVs take up too much space on narrow Parisian streets, are too polluting, "threaten our health and our planet," and cause more accidents than smaller cars. "The time has come to break with this tendency for cars that are always bigger, taller, wider," she said, per the AP. "You have the power to take back ownership of our streets."

  • In the city's center: The cost for nonresidents would soar to $19.50 per hour for the first two hours, compared to $6.45 per hour for smaller cars. A six-hour stay—enough, say, to take in a show and a meal—would cost a whopping $243, compared to $80.50 for smaller vehicles.
  • Away from the heart of the city: An out-of-town SUV driver would pay $12.80 per hour for the first two hours, progressively rising to $161 for six hours.
  • In favor: Cyreane Demur, a 20-year-old student, voted in the arrondissement that includes the car-clogged Champs-Elysees. Demur said heavier cars make congestion "even more complicated" and that "one must consider the ecology, the parking issues."
  • Against: Jadine L'Orlendu, a 75-year-old, said SUVs "do not disturb me, they do not take more space than other cars, the parking places are marked, and people should drive what they want to drive. It's about freedom."

Hidalgo has worked for years to make Paris less car-friendly. But City Hall says that as car traffic has steadily decreased, down by half since the end of the 1990s, SUVs are denting the progress and fouling the air with their outsize dimensions. City Hall says that SUV collisions with pedestrians are twice as deadly as accidents involving smaller cars. It notes that two-thirds of Parisians now don't own a car.

(More Paris stories.)

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