La Rochelle and Sofia propose sustainable parking management solutions on Parking Day

Parking Day at La Rochelle (France)
Presentation of the Park4SUMP project in La Rochelle (France)
World Car Free Day in Sofia (Bulgaria)

“Drivers of motorised vehicles giving up their mode of transport for (at least) a day”, it’s a common definition of car free (sun)days. World Car Free Day took place on September 22 and inspired many cities to use their roads for other purposes.  La Rochelle is a leading example of putting a different perspective on urban areas traditionally dominated by cars. Together with Reykjavik and Bath, the city is a worldwide pioneer for launching car-free programs.

In latest European Mobility Week (16-22 September), La Rochelle claimed urban space again. The city transformed the street for walking and seating, cycling lanes, play areas, eating spots etc.. In this year’s edition (the first one took place in 1997!) people were offered the opportunity to experience life without the car. They used the momentum to add perspectives and to change behaviour towards a different use of public space. In a human and pleasant way the mobility department tried to visualize the current parking offer. By showing parking management solutions on World Car Free Day, the city highlights that a low-carbon city with more use of slow modes and public transport improves the quality of life. Considering this as a long-term goal, car free day is a step-up for implementing parking management policy in the sustainable urban mobility plan of La Rochelle. By showing “new” transport modes to its citizens, the city claims that sustainable alternatives are available. In Sofia (Bulgaria), Gurko Street became a shared space for public transport, cyclists, electric scooters and pedestrians. It’s another initiative showing that parking management solutions need to be integrated in future urban mobility planning.

The numerous benefits of going car-free are translated by many cities into a human mobility policy. Think about Paris’ “journée sans voiture” that evolves into plans to become a 15-Minute City. London is another example, where the expansion of pedestrianised zones in town centres becomes part of the London Plan. The Sustainable Mobility Network and CIVITAS Park4SUMP suggest more parking management solutions, complementary with car free day initiatives, to implement in future urban mobility planning. Let’s change the paradigm and check out the latest publications, resources and tools.