Survey: Prague parking zones not working

Some districts have issued more permits than there are parking spots

The parking situation in Prague is not ideal, and parking zones have not helped it to improve. The problems, even after the introduction of uniform rules across the city, have been highlighted in research by the Faculty of Transportation Sciences of the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT), done in association with alternative taxi service Uber. Similar results were also shown in a survey conducted by the STEM/Mark agency in association with Uber.

On average 318,500 cars arrive on Prague each working day, of which 75,000 commute regularly. The number is based on data from the Technical Communications Administration (TSK) and population data from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). This data also includes cars that are only passing through Prague, but experts say that number is minimal.

Prague has only 3,500 Park and Ride (P + R) spots for people to leave cars and switch to other forms of transit. “From the stated intensity of vehicles and the number and current locations in P + R parking spaces, it is clear there is insufficient capacity in the present state of the P + R parking lots, which is around 1 percent of the average daily intensity of vehicles arriving in Prague. We know from practice abroad that the P + R car lots should have an optimal coverage of 30 to 50 percent of arriving cars in cities,”Josef Kocourek, one of the authors of the ČVUT study said.

The parking situation did not substantially improve in areas where blue zones were set aside for residents, as these do not guarantee spots near where a resident lives. In many cases, more residential parking permits have been issued than there are blue spots to park in.

Prague 3 has fewer than 15,000 parking spots, while the district office has issued 16,428 parking permits. In Prague 7, some 859 parking spaces are lacking. The Prague 10 district has a problem with drivers who use the Vinohrady and Vršovice districts, at the edge of the zone parking, to leave there their cars before going into the city center, taking up spaces from residents.

“Prague residents are very unsatisfied with the current situation around parking permits,” Gabriela Šamanová, an analyst at STEM/Mark, said in a press release. “Almost nine out of 10 drivers not only have a problem parking, but 76 percent have difficulty parking several times a week,” she added. Some 80 percent of the Prague residents sometimes arrive late due to lack of parking spaces.

The STEM/Mark survey also showed people felt the prices for parking, both for monthly for residents and hourly for visitors, were too high.

There are also environmental and economic impacts to the parking situation. “The latest study in California shows that the average driver will spend 800 meters more looking for a parking space. In the total, compared against a paid-up area [like a P+R spot] for regular commuting, this loss is up to 400 km per year. Simple logic points to unnecessary fuel consumption and the environmental burden and the economic loss caused by the search for free parking capacity,” the ČVUT study said.

In Prague, motorists spend about 15 minutes, and in the center even half an hour looking for a spot. This adds up to 180 hours per year, which is more than one working month.

Two-thirds of motorists have faced penalties for parking. Half paid a fine, and one in ten had a boot on their car. One out of seven had a car towed.

Uber in its press release, titled Prague Parking Armageddon, said half of the metropolitan population thinks large-scale underground and above-ground garages are a big part of the solution.

Uber also pointed out that people need to take a new approach to traveling in the city, combining public transit with carsharing, bikesharing, more cycle paths and support for ride-sharing services such as Uber.

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