Berlin moves to open vehicle parking spaces for e-scooters and bikes, potentially reducing congestion and unwanted scooters left on sidewalks.
A new regulation, effective from 1st of January 2023, will allow micro-mobility vehicles, including scooters and bicycles, to park in the parking spaces for free. The main goal of the regulation is to free up sidewalks from scooters and bikes. In the long-run scooters and bikes will be prohibited from parking on sidewalks. That won’t happen immediately, however, as there will be a transition period before micro-mobility vehicles must park in designated areas.
Tier, the Berlin-based micro-mobility operator says they welcome this new regulation; however, Tier’s Head of Corporate Communications, Florian Anders has concerns that the new regulation could raise unnecessary conflicts with car drivers. Anders’ suggestion is that “creating dedicated parking spaces for micro-mobility vehicles instead would tackle the problem directly and permanently”.
Bigger changes are happening in the parking system of Berlin including an increase in the city’s parking fees for the first time in 20 years. The Mobility Senator Bettina Jarasch summed up the goal in the following way: “The goal of our entire mobility revolution is that we distribute public space differently: more space for the environmental association, less space for cars. Parked cars simply take up too much space in such a dense city.”
The new regulation is a good test case scenario to see how car drivers and micro-mobility drivers will respond. The issue of scooters blocking sidewalks and bike lanes is a familiar one in many cities including Berlin. Similar measures have been implemented in Toronto and in Vienna, so over the next year or two we should get a pretty good sense of how these various implementations are working.
The way large cities such as Berlin have historically distributed public space between vehicles, micro-mobility, and pedestrians has favoured vehicles. This new regulation aims to shift that distribution by essentially reallocating vehicle space to micro-mobility. The overarching goal is at least in line with many sustainability and city planning goals, though it remains to be seen if this implementation will find success. It is important to note that the transition to fewer cars in a big city is not an overnight task. Consequently, a long enough transition period and a careful study of different factors should be considered to achieve such goals in urban centres.
Written by Adeleh Mohammadi,
RISE Mobility & Systems