Basic right to mobility or basic right to a car.

Basic right to mobility or basic right to a car.

In Austria, developers – regardless of location and distance from public transportation stops – are required to provide car parking spaces as part of construction projects. On this topic, a conference was held on 28. In October 2015, an ÖGUT thematic breakfast took place, at which the freshly printed climate report was also presentedactive Guide for Environmentally Friendly Parking Management was presented. There is no nationwide regulation for the parking space requirement, but as a rule it is the federal states that specify the number of parking spaces for cars and in some cases also for bicycles. Can cede this competence again to the communities. If the parking space requirement is not met on the part of developers, many states provide for a compensatory levy. For developers, both the construction of parking spaces, which often has to be in the form of underground garages, especially in the limited urban space, and the payment of the equalization levy are expensive.

There is massive potential for savings here: the guidelines for traffic and roads, although not legally binding, approach the issue of stationary traffic with a more sophisticated method: rather than prescribing a minimum number of car parking spaces, they provide for a maximum number of spaces after surveying the actual modal split.

The obligatory construction of parking spaces means that in many cases the car remains the first-choice means of transport, even though the required distances could be covered just as well by means of environmental transport – by public transport, on foot or by bike. The status quo of mobility behavior is cemented at an undesirable level from the point of view of CO2 emissions, noise pollution and air pollution.

National and international examples show that things can be done differently:

Anyone wishing to buy a car in a Japanese city must first prove that a parking space is available for the car; long-term parking in public spaces is not possible. This principle is important in that public space has many functions to perform other than being a parking area for private cars. Much space would be available for movement and play if it were not taken up by parked cars. One way out is to build collective garages that allow for more space-efficient parking of cars. This also makes the way to the car longer, ideally the same length as to the next stop of a public transport, which in turn can influence the choice of means of transport.

In the long run we can assume that especially in cities the mobility behavior will change. Fewer and fewer young people are taking driver's licenses and will own a car in the future, especially when routes can also be traveled by public transit or bicycle. Collective garages are also to be supported from this point of view, since they can be better used than underground garages, for example, if they are no longer needed in the not too distant future. High-rise buildings can also be demolished more easily. The surfaces are put to another use.

The principle of collective garages is implemented in many modern urban development projects, such as the Seestadt Aspern in Vienna. However, as long as city dwellers consider it a basic right to park their private cars in public spaces for a comparatively small fee, the garage spaces, which can be well argued from a technical point of view, often remain a slow seller due to the price. Frequently implemented at present is also the establishment of mobility funds in the course of construction projects; these funds can also support the shift away from garage construction to sustainable mobility.

More and more cities are moving toward dedicating public, parked space back to people, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, children playing, or people practicing sports. New York's Times Square, redesigned by Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, is a case in point. The car-free policy could initially only be enforced on the premise that it was a temporary measure. Meanwhile, the square has been reclaimed by pedestrians. A conclusion: for a future-oriented development of mobility, it is important to raise people's awareness of the fact that mobility is a service for which there are different options and which does not have to be provided by car – as the mandatory construction of car parking spaces per residential unit suggests! And: to create an attractive offer for the transfer!

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