From Regional Austrian Parking Ordinances to Sound Guidelines

From Regional Austrian Parking Ordinances to Sound Guidelines

Tadej Brezina (Vienna University of Technology, Austria) and Josef Michael Schopf (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2116-7.ch008
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Provision of parking space is a constant challenge in urban transport planning because streetscape is a limited resource and therefore highly contested between different uses. In Austria, building regulation competence is subsidiary appointed from the national level to nine provincial parliaments. This leads to nine different parking ordinances. Whereas historically all ordinances have been focusing only on car parking by means of rigid regulations, only recently selected provincial parliaments added detailed bicycle ordinances their building codes. After a detailed overview of the Austrian situation and selected international innovations, the authors identify long-run goals that parking organization in cities should aim at and suggest an improvement of parking ordinances so that city planners and city administrations will have at hand appropriate design tools for mobility regime improvement.
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Stationary Traffic: A Fundamental Problem

Public spaces in residential areas were used for living space with varied functions over millennia. During the industrialisation of the 19th century, the public space in Europe changed from a living to a transportation space. Until the start of the 1930s, flowing transport enjoyed preferential treatment. By contrast, stopping and parking was only permitted at specially designated areas. In the 1930s, streetscape also became a transport space on an entirely legal basis, while precedence was given to flowing traffic. Holding and parking was now permitted wherever it was not expressly banned. As a result, streets changed fundamentally in their appearance (Figure 1) (Schopf, 2016).

Figure 1.

Streetscape changed from living space to storage space for vehicles

© Schopf.

The now prevalent imbalance between transport system, residential structures and environmental targets was subsequently co-determined strongly by the organisation of stationary traffic. The prescribing of mandatory parking spaces in the practice that has been in place for decades now is a fundamental problem of transport development (Schopf & Brezina, 2015). Parking spaces are the sources and destinations of motorised individual transport; they are assigned directly to the structures in terms of space, hugely influence the choice of transport mode to the detriment of the ecomobility (transport by foot/bicycle, public transport, car sharing) and thereby contradict all official environmentally relevant targets (Schopf et al., 2015).

By contrast, the growing traffic and structural problems were mostly addressed with measures in flowing traffic, in particular by installing additional infrastructure. In particular with the rolling out of IT-based methods, traffic planning and safety focus on the flowing traffic and its efficient processing. Great effort is put into fighting symptoms. This is understandable, as problems in flowing traffic are also most easily identifiable by laymen. The results of this approach become apparent in the urban sprawl, the dissolution of urban structures, the outflow of purchasing power from the historic city areas, traffic problems as well as the varied consequences in the social, environmental and health areas (ÖVG, 2005). In this process, old recommendations (Buchanan, 1964; OECD, 1981) point to the key parameter of urban traffic and urban development: garage and parking space management.

According to Riedel (2014), parking space policy therefore needs to be a key component of every effective traffic policy in (major) cities. The quality of an urban transport system depends crucially on the successes or failures in the organisation of parking spaces.

The Austrian minister of the environment also considers the organisation of stationary traffic to be a major influence in choosing the mode of transport and therefore in altering the environmental effects of transport (see Schopf & Brezina, 2015). Nevertheless, stationary traffic is often missed as a cause of the problems, as it does not cause any direct emissions. The indirect effects are in turn all the greater, because the accessibility of the relevant means of transport and the availability of parking spaces at the relevant destination are often crucial for using a certain mode of transport. As regards the pressing target, to reduce CO2 emissions in traffic, the management of parking spaces and suitable regulative tools are therefore particularly significant.

In this chapter, the framework conditions are therefore briefly analysed and the legal regulations regarding the number and arrangement of parking spaces and garages for Austria, as examples for many regulations of this kind in Europe, are then collected and assessed. The discrepancies between the targets and principles of regional planning laws and environmental legislation as well as the associated provisions of building codes are analysed. Subsequently, results of research in this area, which are processed in technical sheets and directives, are presented. Progressive new regulations in the international context are also illustrated. On these bases, recommendations for future-looking regulations regarding parked vehicles are compiled.

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