Paris votes whether to hit SUVs with eye-popping parking costs in latest green drive before Olympics

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Parisians were voting Sunday whether to muscle SUVs off the French capital’s streets by making them much more expensive to park, the latest leg in a drive by Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo to make the host city for this year’s Olympic Games greener and friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists.

Hidalgo is looking for voters’ backing for a proposal to triple parking fees for SUV drivers from out of town.

In get-out-the-vote posts on social media, Hidalgo argued that SUVs take up too much space on narrow Parisian streets, are too polluting and “threaten our health and our planet,” and cause more traffic accidents than smaller cars.

“The time has come to break with this tendency for cars that are always bigger, taller, wider,” she said. “You have the power to take back ownership of our streets.”

The cost for non-residents to park SUVs in Paris’ central districts, in the arrondissements numbered 1 through 11, would soar to €18 euros per hour for the first two hours, compared to €6 per hour for smaller cars.

After that, parking would become increasingly punitive. A six-hour stay with an SUV – enough, say, to take in a show and a restaurant – would cost a whopping €225, compared to €75 for smaller vehicles.

Away from the heart of the city, in Paris’ outer arrondissements numbered 12 through 20, an out-of-town SUV driver would pay €12 per hour for the first two hours, progressively rising to €150 for six hours.

The mini-referendum was open to Parisians registered to vote. The question they were asked to vote on was: “For or against the creation of a specific rate for the parking of heavy, bulky, polluting individual cars?”

Voting stations were to close at 19:00 CET, with results expected later Sunday evening.

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