There is no other traffic planning topic in Hamburg that is currently the subject of such bitter debate as the designation of more and more residential parking areas. The SPD and the Greens had agreed on a minimum of 20 new areas in their coalition agreement in 2020. There are 43 additional zones so far - and the legislature runs for two more years. If the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce has its way, new areas in the Hanseatic city will be over for the time being.
Before the road traffic regulations were changed and tradesmen received parking permits more easily, "no further resident parking areas should be identified," according to a list of demands published by the Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
The road traffic regulations stipulate that only residents in the areas are entitled to a parking permit. With this you can park without time restrictions and without parking fees on the streets of your resident parking zone. Companies can obtain special permits for vehicles required for operations. Company employees, for example, are not entitled to a parking permit - and what vehicles are required for operation is decided on a case-by-case basis.
According to the criticism of the Chamber of Commerce, the regulations for this are not very transparent or are not applied consistently. Another shortcoming: Even for rejected applications, the full rate for an exemption of 250 euros is currently due.
In the meantime, the traffic authority has announced that it will also make special quotas of special permits available to companies so that they can issue them to employees working the early shifts. The federal government also wants to campaign for changes to the road traffic regulations. And the fees for rejected permits should also be discussed again. But that is not enough, or the Chamber of Commerce argues that it is still too far away.
According to the chamber, around 66,800 companies and thus 39 percent of all companies belonging to the chamber of commerce have their headquarters in the areas with established or planned resident parking zones. "We have to develop resident parking into 'resident parking'," said Chamber of Commerce President Norbert Aust. Then companies, some of which have been rooted in the districts for decades, would no longer be excluded and could park their vehicles under the same conditions as residents.
"Until then, we need a much more business-friendly allocation practice for the special permits," Aust demanded. When it comes to discretion, the motto must be: “in case of doubt, for the company”. The Chamber of Commerce warned that parking space management should not lead to companies having thoughts of relocating. This stands in the way of the mixed use of living and working in the neighborhoods close to the city center that the Senate is striving for.
The chamber also called for the number of parking spaces not to be reduced any further overall. According to evaluations by the Chamber, there are currently around 1000 parking spaces each year that were eliminated due to new traffic plans.
Hjalmar Stemmann, President of the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts, welcomed the Chamber of Commerce's demands. For more than a year, Stemmann has been fighting on behalf of the Chamber of Crafts for improvements to businesses in the residents' park areas. "Hamburg needs a clear political commitment that small and medium-sized businesses have a future in this city," he said on Thursday. This includes commercial traffic. For a long time now, the Chamber of Crafts has been campaigning for practical solutions that companies don't leave out when it comes to neighborhood parking.
"I appeal to the transport senator: finally move the issue of business parks from the working level to the political level and invite the leaders of chambers and associations to a 'round table on business parks'."