Friday, September 07, 2007

Germany Proposes Law to Promote On Street Parking

The July 5, 2007 edition of Die Zeit included a story describing the conflict in Germany over a national law that would allow cities to designate on-street parking spaces for carsharing vehicles. The law was passed in June, 2005 by the Bundestag but the regulations are now being put forth. The article indicates that cities, which are actually the ones that would decide about the parking, have been reluctant to approve any on-street parking for carsharing because the Federal law was unclear about their authority to do so.

The article goes on to cite the benefits of carsharing to city congestion and as a money saver. It mentions that the number of carsharing vehicles in Germany rose by 7.4% to a total of 2,900 this year. But it mentions that Germany still has a ways to go since Switzerland has 8 times as many members as German carsharing companies.

The article quotes Willi Loose, president of the Bundesverband Car Sharing (German Carsharing Federation) calling for a clear definition of carsharing that will exclude car rental from being able to use these "public" parking spaces; as well as the possibility that clever citizens would figure out a way to get a carsharing space (for their personal car) designated right in front of their house. Loose suggests the definition needs to include "membership" and distributed/decentralized vehicle locations.

Finally, the article mentions that the German Automobile Association and the German Retail Trade Association supports the idea of on-street parking. Interestingly, the only opposition quoted in the article was from the "state" of Baden W├╝rtenberg, which the articles points is where the major German automakers are headquartered.

You can read the article, in German here. There's more information on the on-street parking issue on the German Carsharing Federation website, including PDFs of the responses from the various German states about the regulations (in German, of course). My German is only slightly better than Google's so if I've misunderstood things in the article, let me know.