Parking may return to Malostranské náměstí

The lower house of Parliament is considering a safety zone that includes the square

Members of Parliament are considering the creation of a buffer zone around the Chamber of Deputies building in Malá Strana for safety. The zone would extend to Malostranské náměstí and could mean the return of parking there. A lower house organizing committee held preliminary discussions on the issue.

Parking ended on the square in July 1 2016, and it has been a pedestrian zone since then.

Deputy lower house chairman Petr Gazdík told daily Mladá fronta Dnes that the potential change was not primarily about parking but was for increased security for the building. The rules of procedure established the need for a guard for the Parliament building but it was never established.

The organizing committee that took place last week was first reported by Czech magazine Security. The magazine states that Parliament is considering a change the law governing the Parliament building so that in the name of safety, the parliamentary guard could monitor and control the flow of traffic and people on the streets around the seat of the lower house.

There are also provisions that would allow the chancellor of the lower house to designate places in the buffer zone where members of Parliament can park their cars. If the changes to the law are approved, this would likely mean that Malostranské náměstí would become a parking lot for politicians, Security magazine states.

If all parties agree to an accelerated procedure the changes to the law could still be implemented this year.

Ever since the square became a pedestrian zone, the situation with parking for politicians had become an issue. Some politicians have found their cars immobilized with a car boot, even though they are exempt from this and can only be fined for illegal parking.

The effort to turn the parking lot at Malostranské náměstí into a pedestrian zone was led by Kateřina Jacques, a former Green Party politician who is currently a member of the Liberal Ecological Party (LES). Her efforts began in 2011, and she said in 2016 that persuading politicians to allow an end to parking was the hardest part of the effort.

In the long term, the square should be rebuilt to make it friendlier for pedestrians but if Parliament changes the law and creates the buffer zone with restored parking then the renovations would be unlikely.

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