Paris referendum result could mark a new era of SUV restrictions in European cities
A majority of voters in Paris today endorsed the city’s plan to increase parking charges for heavy SUVs.
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The French capital held a referendum asking residents to decide whether very heavy cars should pay up to three times more than regular cars, a proposal approved by 54.55% of voters. The result means that Paris could become the second major French city (after Lyon) and the first European capital to endorse such a policy.
Jens Mueller, Deputy Director of Clean Cities, says: “Today’s vote is an important message from Parisians that monster SUVs are simply incompatible with urban life. Paris has already leapfrogged towards a city where people can easily walk, cycle and enjoy liveable neighbourhoods. Today’s vote takes Paris even closer to the vision of a truly people-centred city. Cities across Europe will hopefully be inspired to follow the example of the French capital.”
Tony Renucci, director of French clean air group Respire, a local partner of the Clean Cities coalition, says: “The result of the vote is a victory for Parisians’ quality of life. By making SUVs pay for the cost and nuisance they cause, Paris is sending a signal that these monsters on wheels are not welcome on our streets. It’s also excellent news for air quality, road safety and rebalancing public space in cities”.
Research from Transport and Environment last month revealed that on average new cars are getting 1cm wider every two years.  The average width of new cars in the EU now exceeds 180 cm, a frequently-used minimum specification for on-street parking in European cities, including Paris.
Clean Cities calls on the Mayor of Paris to move quickly to implement the new parking charges, and to ensure that exemptions and reductions are in place for low-income households and large families, as is the case in Lyon.