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Paris votes to triple parking fees for SUVs, champions bikes

French environmental associations have pointed to high emissions by heavy vehicles

French environmental associations have pointed to high emissions by heavy vehicles

Parisians on Sunday voted in favor of hiking parking fees for large SUVs, as the French capital presses on with long-term plans to become a fully bikeable city.

The outcome means large SUVs would be subject to a threefold increase in parking fees — €18 ($19.50) per hour for parking in the city center, or €12 further out.

Some 54.5% of those taking part in the referendum voted in favor of hiking parking fee, while 45.5% rejected the motion, according to official results.

But the turnout was low, with only 78,000 people of the 1.3 million eligible voters casting their ballots at the 39 voting stations around the French capital.

Move to discourage car use

The referedum comes less than a year after city residents voted to ban e-scooters.

The higher parking fee will apply to combustion and hybrid models weighing 1.6 tons or more and electric models weighing two tons or more.

"We're proud of having posed an eminently environmental question at a time the environment is presented as the source of all evil," Mayor Anne Hidalgo said after the results. "It's a form of resistance here in Paris to this very concerning movement."

Under Hidalgo, a Socialist, the streets of Paris have been transformed, with 84 kilometers of cycle lanes created since 2020 and a 71% jump in bike usage between the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns and 2023, according to City Hall.

But Sunday's vote also drew criticism, from motorists' associations.

SUVs have become increasingly popular in France, favored by families in particular.

rm/sri (Reuters, AFP, dpa)