Antwerp: ‘residents only to park on inner-city streets’
The city of Antwerp is planning to forbid all parking within the inner-city (within De Leien) for visitors and reserve the right to park on the street to residents only. That would mean all parking metres to disappear and visitors being diverted to underground parkings and parking buildings or to park-and-rides at the outskirts of the city.
The latter was announced by Antwerp Mobility Alderman, Koen Kennis (N-VA), who said that “visitors leaving their vehicle on the streets of the inner-city will be fined”. He added that this measure is only possible in this inner-city because there are enough alternative public parking spaces available in parking buildings.
Park-and-rides in outskirt
“Visitors will be forced to park there or use the park-and-rides in the city’s outskirts and use public transport to the inner-city. This way we hope to decrease parking pressure and create more space for shared cars or cars from disabled people.”
Sacrificing at least one parking space per street to create bike parking, as opposition party Groen asks to do something about the blockage of footpaths by bikes, would be a possibility this way, but this apparently is something Kennis couldn’t bring himself to say (yet).
Why not using ANPR cameras?
Antwerp professor and mobility expert, Dirk Lauwers (UIA), thinks it’s a good idea to push back the number of cars in the inner-city. He has a few question marks at the way the city government is planning to enforce this, using parking car-park attendants and not ANPR cameras that can read license plates and check whether it belongs to a resident or not automatically.
Lauwers points at the example of other cities in Italy and Spain, for instance, that already have introduced the ‘residents only parking’ policy earlier. He sees it as an alternative way to realize a ‘car-low city centre’, something all political parties say they would favour, without having to enforce a total ban for cars.
140 resident permits for 100 free spaces
However, even with this ‘residents only measure’, there will be not enough parking space for those Antwerp residents, as it turns out that today 140 ‘resident permits’ are issued for every 100 parking spaces available on the street.
As long as people still want to actually own their car, while it in practice stands still ‘out of work’ for 95% of the time on average, instead of switching to shared car formulas and other means of transport, parking spaces will become a scarce commodity that will have a price to pay for.