From Iceland — Wants Free Parking Downtown

Wants Free Parking Downtown

Published November 13, 2013

A group representing some business and property owners on Laugavegur recommend that downtown parking metres be removed, and replaced with “disc parking.”
The group, the Federation of Merchants and Property Owners On Laugavegur, published the proposal on their website yesterday. They contend that the purpose of parking metres “has never been anything but a way to ensure the most efficient use of parking spaces,” but that Reykjavík authorities have instead used them “as exploitation, making the parking fares prohibitively expensive.” They also claim parking metres discriminate against Laugavegur business owners, because “there is no charge for parking at businesses elsewhere in the city.”
The group recommend that Reykjavík adopt disc parking, a system of time-restricted free parking that is used across Europe. In Reykjavík’s context, the group envisions free parking on Laugavegur that is limited to 20 minutes to half an hour, while off the main street parking could be anywhere from two hours to all day.
How well the proposal will go over with city authorities remains to be seen. Last year, Hjálmar Sveinsson, the vice chairperson of the city planning committee, proposed that one way to convince people to use more public transportation would be to “set fares on all parking spaces downtown, at hospitals, universities, and so forth.”
Iceland in general has the lowest parking fares in Europe, averaging 250 ISK per hour, compared to about three times that much in other Nordic countries.

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