More parking zones taking effect

Residents in several districts will have an easier time parking

Residents of Prague 5, 6 and 8 will have an easier time parking, while people from outside those districts will find fewer open parking spots as of Aug. 26, when more blue parking zones come into effect in eight locations.

City officials are trying to improve traffic flow and at the same time ensure that local residents will have sufficient parking.

As the city's regulated parking expands, commuters hoping to avoid paying fees have been parking in residential areas further and further from the city center. This leaves residents in those areas with insufficient parking, causing the need for more parking zones.

The city wants commuters from the Central Bohemia region to use Park and Ride lots and then finish the journey on public transportation. But officials from the affected districts say the capacity of the lots and other designated parking for commuters is insufficient to meet the demand.

As a result, the districts had to increase the number of spaces in blue zones for residents who pay an annual fee.

Some 2,335 parking places will be created in Prague 5, while in Prague 8 there will be 1,376 and in Prague 6 there will be 1,117 spots.

People with permanent residence in the selected area can park at any blue and purple parking space. Paying a parking fee to use the designated spots links the resident's specific license plate number to zones in that district. The owner can't substitute a different car if the registered one is someplace else. Also the car owner does not get a specific spot, and is not guaranteed a spot.

There are other changes for parking as well. Drivers do not need to buy a ticket from a vending machine. The pay-as-you-go zones are switching to digital monitoring tied to car license plates. People can pay via credit card using a smartphone. Police can see if parking has been paid by checking the license number over the internet.

The owners of more than one car or entrepreneurs residing in areas with paid parking zones will see some improvement. As of Aug. 24 people will pay Kč 7,000 a year for a second car. Entrepreneurs and companies that do business in those districts will also be able to get permits at Kč 7,000 for one car.

Parking rules are determined by each district. Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek previously said that the parking zones need to make sense from a perspective of transport for the entire city.

The whole city should come under one parking plan sometime in 2018, and pricing policies and monitoring systems can become more coordinated, Dolínek said.

Zones in Prague began to operate in 1996 in parts of Prague 1 and were subsequently extended to the whole of Prague 1, 2, 7, and most of Prague 3. The zones were extended to Prague 5, 6 and 8 in 2016.

Zones are also run by the Town Hall in Prague 13, 16 and 22. There are four types of zones, one allows parking for residents of the district, two others allow parking for short and long periods of time. The final type is for parking near places of business and office buildings.

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