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Parking in city centers is a problem that gets bigger every year. Michał Wolański from the Institute of Transport Infrastructure and Mobility of the Warsaw School of Economics notes that: in the case of the European Union’s mobility policy, as well as in individual urban mobility policy, moving through the city by car is not a desirable phenomenon, although it is comfortable for many of us.

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08:20 foursome top 05.05.2021.mp3 Underground car parks – can they rid city centers of cars (TOP – Little Optimism Afternoon / Four)

– For those who want to park, who use the parking infrastructure and those who use the sidewalks as pedestrians, parking in city centers is a problem – he emphasizes Michal Wolański. – Looking for a parking space in the city center often means many minutes of walking in the area. Then the drivers complain that there are not enough places and that they are always occupied. However, this is not entirely true, because even in Poland we have a lot of underground car parks in the inner city – he emphasizes.

As Poland we have a lot of cars, compared to residents of other European countries Michal Wolański

There are many underground car parks in Warsaw city center. They are being built next to new office buildings. – Most of them are empty because drivers believe that the rates that apply there, very different, are too high – notes the expert.

This is also the case in Łódź, where the parking garage at the Łódź Fabryczna station is empty. In Warsaw, few cars park near the Politechnika metro station or near Krasiński Square, despite the fact that it is difficult to find surface parking in the area.

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In the context of parking, you can boldly say that “if you don’t know what it’s about, it’s about money”. – A major problem for motorists is the difference between the price of parking on the street and the price of parking in underground car parks. The first is still much cheaper. This means that investments in underground parking spaces do not yield too much, explains Maciej Wójcik, discussion partner. – If we want to have a city like in the West: 1-2 underground car parks serving the city center, and thus beautiful streets without parked cars, we have to get used to slightly higher parking prices. And this is what Poles accept very badly – he adds.

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The second reason for many vacancy rates in underground car parks is our habit.
– If we have nice underground car parks, they won’t be every 100, 200, 300 meters. Using the underground parking we then have to walk a few hundred meters to our destination and many people think it is a rape of their freedom and don’t do it – says Michał Wolański.

Observing the Polish behavior, we see that many people park illegally, even if there is a legal parking space 200-300 meters away. Michal Wolański

Motorists like to park right next to their destination, forgetting that using an underground parking garage is a more pleasant place for pedestrians or cyclists.

The construction of underground parking garages is expensive. – Everyone wants nice parking spaces, but nobody wants to pay for them. However, someone has to pay. In such a case, it is imperative that we who park, and not all taxpayers, cover the cost of operating the parking lot. It is estimated that creating 1 parking space in the underground parking will cost several tens of thousands of zlotys – explains the specialist.

It is worth knowing that there cannot be too many such parking spaces. The capacity of streets and parking spaces must be coordinated. Everything must be studied. Today, the specialist notes shortcomings in the infrastructure and the need for changes both on the surface and in the underground car parks. Michał Wolański also notes that among residents and local government officials There are many myths about parking fees† Some people think that parking fees are a kind of loot, a source of income, and they are there to share these places in a meaningful way.

Program title: TOP – A little bit of optimism in the afternoon

Leads: Mateusz Kulik

The material is prepared by: Maciej Wojcik

Release date: 05/05/2021

Time of broadcast: 18.19

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