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Why parking spots in downtown Zurich are disappearing

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

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

A 25-year-old law preserving parking spots has been repealed in favour of more pedestrian-friendly spaces in the Zurich city centre.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

Member comments

  1. 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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For members


How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

It's a very common experience to have to give out your phone number or email address in Switzerland, or take down the address of a website, so here's how to do this if you're in the French-speaking part of the country.

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

The correct names for punctuation marks used to be fairly low down on any French-learner’s list, but these days they are vital whenever you need to explain an email address, website or social media account.

Likewise if you want to talk about websites, or social media posts, there are some things that you need to know. 


Obviously punctuation points have their own names, and making sure you get the periods, dashes and underscores correct is vital to giving out account details. 

Full stop/period . point. Pronounced pwan, this is most commonly heard for Swiss websites or email addresses which end in. ch (pronounced pwan ce ash).

If you have a site that ends in .com you say ‘com’ as a word just as you would in English – pwan com.

At symbol @ Arobase – so for example the email address [email protected] would be jean pwan dupont arobas bluewin pwan ce ash.

Ampersand/and symbol & esperluette

Dash – tiret

Underscore _ tiret bas 

Forward slash / barre oblique

Upper case/capital lettersMajuscule (or lettre majuscule)

Lower caseminiscule

The following punctuation points are less common in email or web addresses, but worth knowing anyway:

Comma , virgule. In French a decimal point is indicated with a comma so two and a half would be 2,5 (deux virgule cinq)

Exclamation mark ! point d’exclamation – when you are writing in French you always leave a space between the final letter of the word and the exclamation mark – comme ça !

Question mark ? point d’interrogation – likewise, leave a space between the final character and a question mark 

Brackets/parentheses ( ) parenthèse

Quotation marks « » guillemets 


If you need to give your phone number out, the key thing to know is that Swiss-French people pair the numbers in a phone number when speaking.

So say your number is 079 345 6780, in French you would say zero septante-neuf, trois-cents quarante-cinq, soixante-sept, huitante (zero seventy-nine, three hundred forty-five, sixty-seven, eighty ).

Mobile numbers in Switzerland  begin with 079 or 078 (zero septante-neuf or zero septante-huit).

Social media

If you want to give out your Twitter or Instagram handle, the chances are you might need to know some punctuation terms as described above.

Otherwise the good news is that a lot of English-language social media terms are used in Switzerland too.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have the same names in Switzerland and have entered the language in other ways too, for example you might describe your dinner as très instagrammable – ie it’s photogenic and would look good on Instagram.

On Twitter you can suivre (follow), aimer (like) or retweet (take a wild guess). You’ll often hear the English words for these terms too, though pronounced with a French accent.

There is a French translation for hashtag – it’s dièse mot, but in reality hashtag is also very widely used.

Tech is one of those areas where new concepts come along so quickly that the English terms often get embedded into everyday use before the French-speakers can think up an alternative.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local