Paris voters approved an effort to significantly raise parking fees for large sport utility vehicles and other heavy cars, the latest move by Mayor Anne Hidalgo to reshape the French capital with environmentally friendly policies and friendly to pedestrians.
The new parking rates are expected to be approved in May by the Paris City Council, where the Socialist Party and Ms. Hidalgo’s Green allies have a majority. The new fees are then expected to take effect in September, Ms. Hidalgo said.
Some car owners have complained of being shut out of the capital, but Ms Hidalgo was unrepentant at a news conference on Sunday evening. “Parisians have made a clear choice,” she declared, adding: “We are very proud of this result.”
However, participation was extremely low. While some 54.5 percent of Parisians voted in favor of the measure, only about 5.7 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote.
Although much of the public debate has focused on SUVs or sport utility vehicles, the new fees will apply to all cars weighing more than 1.6 tonnes if they are equipped with a traditional combustion engine or if they are hybrid, or more than two tonnes if they are equipped with a traditional combustion engine. electric.
These vehicles will have to pay 18 euros, or a little more than 19 dollars, per hour of public parking in the center of Paris, and 12 euros in the peripheral districts of the French capital, or triple the normal rate.
But there are several exemptions, so the measure will mainly apply to external visitors.
Parisians who park in their neighborhood will not be affected. Neither do taxis or other professional vehicles, nor people who use larger vehicles due to a disability.
City officials have argued that large SUVs and other large cars emit more greenhouse gases than mid-size cars and are more dangerous to pedestrians because of their bulk.
Ms. Hidalgo’s centrist and right-wing opponents said in a statement statement that the low turnout and meager results of the referendum constituted a “disavowal” of the mayor and that the increase in prices would keep large families and newer, cleaner SUVs away from the capital.
“With this publicity stunt, the mayor of Paris is simply seeking to divert attention from her disastrous record,” the press release said.