Amsterdam cancels cheap parking zones in shopping areas

Amsterdam is eliminating low-cost parking zones in shopping districts, alderman Egbert de Vries has decided. In all Amsterdam shopping centers, parking for 10 cents an hour will soon be a thing of the past. Until recently, people could park for ten cents an hour on Zeilstraat, Delflandplein and Van Woustraat, for example, for a maximum period of one hour. If you needed to run a short errand, this was the place to go. In a few weeks, this will come to an end. The decision is the result of a Supreme Court ruling that those who park their car for longer than the statutory parking period restriction cannot be subjected to an additional parking fee. Basically, parking would be free – and that’s not an option in Amsterdam.

De Vries claims that the Supreme Court judgment startled him, and that it implied that short-term cheap parking is no longer possible at all. Parking in Amsterdam “is expensive, more expensive and most expensive”, he says. The city council is concerned that if enforcement is not possible in these parking places, severe problems would occur. Therefore, short-term, low-cost parking will be discontinued for the time being. The standard tariff in the adjacent streets will be applied to the existing ten-cent zones. This means that in Jan Tooropstraat, for example, the cost of € 4.50 will be applied, which is already in place in other streets in the area.

The question is whether or not low-cost short-term parking in shopping malls will return. The adjustment is being described by the city council as a temporary measure, with the goal of presenting suitable solutions by the end of 2022. Daan Wijnants, city councillor for the VVD party, believes that the elimination of ten-cent zones for enterprises will be a bad bargain in the long term. He is hoping that the rule will be only temporary: “Especially shops with larger items get a lot of visitors who come by car for a short period. The council must come up with a solution quickly.” Other parties, such as GroenLinks and D66, who are planning to form a coalition, are opposed to low-cost parking zones in shopping areas, partly because they encourage short car trips.

For the time being, parking for ten cents per hour will remain available at the Middenmeer, Drieburg and Transformatorweg sports facilities, as well as the Sint Barbara cemetery. The parking term restriction will also be removed in Weesp, but only in September, when the parking regulations of Amsterdam and Weesp will become the same.

Amsterdam: an expensive city
Amsterdam is infamous for its parking fees, not just for visitors but also for residents. Car owners who live in the historic city center and Plantagebuurt pay the highest fee for their parking permit, according to LocalFocus, a research journalism organization that has compiled information on parking fees for all 352 towns. As reported by newspaper Het Parool, residents of these areas pay around €568 per year for a parking permit.

According to Giuliano Mingardo, urban economist at Erasmus University, parking permits are most expensive in affluent communities. The high parking fees are basically due to a large number of people and a lack of available parking spaces – the same reasoning that applies to house prices. Municipalities use parking fees, such as those from permits, to balance their budgets, according to Corine Hoeben of COELO research institute. She explains: “Due to the tasks that the municipality has to perform, there is often a budget shortage and the central government is unable to provide extra money. All the money comes together in one big heap and the municipality has to cover all costs with this.”

Written by Nicole Bea Kerr