A new parking development plan under work in the Tallinn city government may herald major changes to how parking is arranged in the capital city, Postimees reported on Saturday.
With a view to preparing the development plan, the city commissioned an in-depth survey from the company Spin Unit on the present and future of parking in Tallinn.
According to Postimees, two camps have emerged among the city's officialdom when it comes to the policy of future parking. The city's transport authority is favoring the current arrangement with zones of paid parking, whereas the planning authority prefers a cut in the mandatory numbers of car parking spaces that must be developed with each new housing development.
Both departments are subordinated to Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov, who said the main outlines of the development plan are to be set out in the next six weeks, and finalised at the start of 2020.
One of the authors of the study, Kristi Grisakov, described organization of parking not as a science, but politics.
"With the organization of parking there is no specific scientific direction that is the right way or wrong way of doing things. It is purely about political decisions of the city, how they direct and determine parking," Grisakov said.
She explained that deciding one way the city can direct more people to use public transport, but on the other, handing out free parking spaces is likely to bring more votes from residents.
"We measured in our survey how many parking spots there are in different regions of Tallinn, how many there are for instance for each apartment in the different city districts. And then we dealt with data concerning paid parking; that is, where people park the most and for how long they park in different locations on the average. A bit also with statutory norms of parking, that is how many parking spots should be created in new residential areas or apartment houses," Grisakov said.
The main message of the study, according to Grisakov, could be for people to pay more attention to how much the cost of a dwelling is connected with the construction of parking spaces.
"In areas of paid parking there is also the problem that a parking spot costs so much that parking on the street is much more advantageous. So that when a person doesn't buy a parking spot from the developer but parks on the street with a resident's reduced rate parking card, this is much more advantageous also looking decades ahead than buying a personal parking spot. Our study contains all relevant findings and proposals for changing statutory parking norms," she added.
While declining to comment on the study, Novikov admitted that existing statutory parking norms for new residential developments often are not consistent with the requirements of life.
"For instance, in the city center we should no longer be building in accordance with the parking development plan or the standard, but the statutory parking norm should definitely be lower. We admit that the streets of the city center are at their limit, yet at the same time we demand ever new parking spaces from every new development. Each additional parking space however means that there will be one more car on the street," Novikov added.
Editor: Helen Wright