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Swiss groups argue about parking spaces

This is happening a lot in Switzerland. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Even good drivers might struggle to fit their cars into the allotted parking spaces in Switzerland. Yet Swiss cities don’t necessarily want to provide larger spaces.

The Swiss Association of Road and Traffic Experts has presented a proposal to increase the standard size of parking spaces. Currently, the Swiss standard width is 2.35 metres for private parking spaces and 2.50m for public ones. The new recommendation would make 2.5 the minimum, with the option to add 10cm. It would also extend the minimum length from 5.7 to 6.0m. The average Swiss car has become 7cm wider since 1995.

But as the Swiss Association of Cities told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, the concept is problematic in view of the limited road space. Association director Renate Amstutz told the newspaper that the existing space must also suffice for sidewalks, bike paths and meeting spaces.

“Larger parking spaces could increase the conflict zones,” added Amstutz. The association of cities insists that local authorities be able to weigh up the pros and cons themselves rather than be legally bound to follow a new standard.

The boom in sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and other four-wheel-drive vehicles in Europe means that the average car is now 12cm wider than it was in the 1990s, according to German researchers.

A few years ago, the Swiss Association of Road and Traffic Experts wanted to widen all Swiss roads, but the federal government quickly dismissed that idea.

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