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A Seattle view on reducing parking: less is more

June 12th, 2009 · 4 Comments

One more take on the issue of parking reduction in cities, here from Seattle. I should note, given my current location, that the parking rates throughout Paris are a flat 2 euros an hour (about $3.25) — not that exorbitant, surprisingly.

I believe the rate on Hornby, where I park regularly is $4 an hour. And Hornby doesn’t have anywhere near the cute cafes that I’m seeing here.

But Paris is more effective at limiting parking by simply not having a lot of it. I’ve driven and parked in Paris before, but definitely opted not to this time because it just seemed like too much of a hassle, not because it was exorbitantly expensive. That decision is confirmed for me as a good one every time I look at the traffic gridlock.

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  • gmgw

    On two of our trips to Paris, quite a few years ago, we had a car (it was our penultimate destination on a month-long driving tour of Europe each time). We drove into the city to our hotel in the Marais near the Place des Vosges (and had a terrifing time getting across the Place de la Bastille), checked in, parked the car in a garage on the Rue St-Antoine, and didn’t go near it again for our entire stay (and I got deliberately shortchanged by the garage attendant as we left– only discovered it later).

    As in Rome, I found the idea of driving in Paris (let alone parking) so intimidating that I didn’t even want to try. Probably it’s not *that* bad– thousands and thousands of Parisians do it every day!– but still. Anyway, it was completely unnecessary; the combination of the Metro and shank’s mare were completely sufficient.

    I did feel a twinge of regret that the garage shut down in the evening. I would have liked to go for a late-night drive around Paris, when all but the main streets seem all but deserted. On our most recent (and carless) visit I forgot that the Metro stops running around one AM(!), and I had to walk, alone, from Montmartre back to our hotel in the Seventh, near the Eiffel Tower (very roughly the equivalent of walking from 16th and Main to downtown). It took me more than two hours (got back to the hotel after three AM); there were so many fascinating small things to stop and look at, not to mention the larger and magnificent spectacle of the darkened City of Light herself, that I could have taken even longer. I would highly recommend walking (with judicious use of the Metro and buses) as by far the best way to see Paris. You experience so much more at a walking pace. It’s a city where getting about by car is a terrible hindrance– and where, after a few days of walking, you will feel that you’re living in a steel mill; the omnipresent, pounding roar of the daytime and evening traffic (and the constant buzzing whine of the minibikes) is utterly exhausting.

    You officially have my deepest and most profound envy, Frances. Have a wonderful visit.

  • Denis

    Since folks are shiifted to Paris. A number of years ago my wife , two kids and I, did 5000 miles on bikes in Europe. We went from the south end to Gare De Nord on the subway including our bikes. No problem parking was never an issue. We are so far behind its sad. To see hundreds of bikes at the train stations as part of the commute was a neat thing. Sure we have a car now ,but still miss the idea of doing country roads in the many countries we visited. The countries had special maps for bike riders and the paths had special stop and go lights. They don’t call us the colonies for nothing. Have fun Francis, wish we were there.

  • rf

    Have any of Paris’ Park Board Commissioners fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed into any houses while you are there?
    sorry….couldn’t help it.

  • Frances Bula

    No, but apparently two mayors in a row of some small town in the south have had to resign over massive corruption in the town. One just committed suicide, the other is on his way to jail.

    We just don’t compare, in some ways