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Why parking spots in downtown Zurich are disappearing

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Daniel Wighton - [email protected]
Why parking spots in downtown Zurich are disappearing
Car spots in Zurich are set to make way for pedestrian spaces. Photo by Who’s Denilo ? on Unsplash

Parking spots are set to make way for pedestrian-focused spaces after Zurich city authorities changed a decades-old law.


A 25-year-old law preserving parking spots has been repealed in favour of more pedestrian-friendly spaces in the Zurich city centre. 

The law, handed down in 1996, required that the number of parking spots in the city be kept at the same level as at 1990. 

Known as the “historic parking lot compromise”, this meant that every time a parking spot was removed by the city, another one needed to be built or created to replace it. 

The city’s ruling Social Democrats argued that more space was needed so that pedestrians can “linger and stroll”. 


As yet, there have been no concrete indications as to how many above ground parking spots will be removed, but the city said in a press release the focus will be on improving city areas for pedestrians rather than “parking space counting”. 

The 1996 law itself was also passed in favour of pedestrians, while also balancing the needs of motorists. 

The aim of the law was to ensure that the overall number of parking spots did not decline when spots were removed above ground for pedestrian-focused activities. 

The new spots were often created in underground lots, reports Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes.  

While the Social Democrats were joined by the FDP, GLP and the EPP, the conservative SVP opposed the plans. 


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Anonymous 2021/07/07 07:32
I am visiting Zurich with my Swiss wife and we have been amazed at the number of motorised scooters. They are everywhere and flash fast and silent through every pedestrian area, sidewalks and parks. They are then dumped all over the place and seem to be just discarded when no longer charged or of need. How are these lethal weapons licenced and 'controlled'

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