Parisians voted on Sunday to muscle 4x4s off the French capital’s streets by making them much more expensive to park from the autumn, the latest leg in a drive by Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo to make the host city for this year’s Olympic Games greener.
More than 54% of the votes cast in the low-turnout election supported the measure to triple parking fees for large 4×4, or SUV, drivers from out of town to 18 euros (£15.45) per hour in the city’s centre, according to official results.
Only 5.7% of the 1.3 million eligible voters cast ballots at the 39 voting stations around the city.
In get-out-the-vote posts on social media, Ms Hidalgo argued that the vehicles take up too much space on narrow Parisian streets, are too polluting and “threaten our health and our planet”, and cause more traffic accidents than smaller cars.
The additional fees will come into force from September 1, she said.
“The time has come to break with this tendency for cars that are always bigger, taller, wider,” she said. “You have the power to take back ownership of our streets.”
The cost for non-residents to park 4x4s in Paris’s central districts, in the arrondissements numbered 1 through 11, would soar to 18 euros per hour for the first two hours, compared with six euros per hour for smaller cars.
After that, parking would become increasingly punitive. A six-hour stay with a 4×4 would cost 225 euros (£192.52), compared with 75 euros for smaller vehicles.
Away from the heart of the city, in Paris’s outer arrondissements 12 to 20, an out-of-town 4×4 driver would pay 12 euros per hour for the first two hours, progressively rising to 150 euros for six hours.
The mini-referendum was open to Parisians registered to vote. The question they were asked was: “For or against the creation of a specific rate for the parking of heavy, bulky, polluting individual cars?”
The vote follows another consultation last year on whether to ban for-hire electric scooters. The 15,000 opinion-dividing mini-machines were subsequently banished from Paris streets after nearly 90% of the 103,000 voters rejected e-scooters.
More bike lanes are being added for the July 26-Aug. 11 Olympics and Paralympic Games that follow.
City Hall says that 4×4 collisions with pedestrians are twice as deadly than accidents involving smaller cars. It notes that two-thirds of Parisians now do not own a car.
City Hall’s proposed ramped-up parking prices would apply to conventional or hybrid-engined 4x4s from out of town that weigh 1.6 tons or more and two tons or more if they are fully electric.