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Forget Your Parking Permit, This Is Germany!

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 17, 2016 in News & Opinion |

This is a story, tracing its roots back to 2013, which is simply too good to miss. The small town of Datteln in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany, is turning back the clock on parking permits, and in a way which may surprise those of us more used to modern technology and the apps which do everything for us.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported yesterday that the town is considering allowing short-term parking free of charge. There are one or two drawbacks, though: short-term means, in this case, eight to ten minutes; the parking time is measured by an hourglass.

Hourglass

Photo Source: Andreas RodlerCreative Commons

In a wonderful move away from modern technology – or the blue plastic time cards which are normal everywhere else – the town is considering following the 2013 example of Kirckheim unter Teck, and has already voted unanimously to introduce the hourglasses where otherwise a fee should be paid. Whether they will be introduced or not remains to be seen, the town council is not the Last Resort in such matters. Still to be considered, and being checked now, are the legal ramifications: is an hourglass for residents discriminatory? Locals are not the only people who would be keen to take advantage of free parking in the center of town, even if only for ten minutes, but where would tourists and outsiders get their hourglass, at what price and for how long?

Or, perhaps, visitors can bring their own with them, and then parking could be extended beyond the statutory – or planned – ten minutes.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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