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April 24, 2014
Saturday, December 7, 2013

Paid parking approved

System will be implemented in middle of next year

The countdown is on for the time when drivers will have to pay to park in almost half of Buenos Aires City streets.

During a long and heated session with a packed legislative agenda, City Hall finally managed to garner approval to extend metered parking to 45 percent of the City’s streets, along with other critical changes to the system of traffic fines.

Mayor Mauricio Macri’s PRO party was able to mostly preserve the original spirit of its original bill, although some amendments were necessary to garner Kirchnerite votes and pass the measure with 38 positive votes in a 60-member chamber.

Only one Victory Front (FpV) legislator opposed the bill: María José Lubertino, who held on to her position against Macri’s plan.

“The new law does not offer a final solution to BA City’s long traffic problem and its related parking issue but it’s a step in that direction”, Kirchnerite lawmaker Claudio Palmeyro said publicly.

As head of Traffic and Transportation Committee he was in charge of negotiations with PRO legislator Daniel Presti to bridge differences between the political blocs.

One of Macri’s concessions was to take down the wheel clamp system that had been eradicated from City streets in 2001 and City Hall aimed to reestablish along with a 30-minute grace period to pay the fine before the vehicle is towed.

There are currently only two of these impound lots but the new law stipulates that an additional eight will be built.

Other amendments were geared toward which streets are to be included in the metered parking areas — some were relabelled from the original parking fee map to keep its free-of-charge condition — while all City residents will be exempt from paying provided they park within a 200-metre radius from their registered residence.

The original bill only reserved this benefit for residents living in “basic fee” zones but not for the ones of the so-called “progressive pricing” areas. Nevertheless, residents of the City’s historic quarter and surroundings where paid parking is already the norm are not included although they will be granted a 50-percent discount.

“This bill pursues a crucial objective: to realign traffic flow. With metered parking we expect to discourage the use of private vehicles and, therefore, decrease the number of one million automobiles that come to the City on a daily basis”, held Presti when backing the project.

In order to make the new system operational during 2014’s second half, The BA City government will call for tenders within a 120-day period to select the firms in charge of installing the parking meters along the designated streets.

The City will be divided into five areas and City Hall will have to publicly inform what streets are to be considered free of charge or branded as “basic,” “P1” or “P2” according to parking demand and traffic flow.

There is already a list circulating that was added to the bill.

Essentially, for low-level traffic areas, there will be a basic fee per hour that will not be modified no matter how long the car is parked there.

On the other hand, streets with a major traffic flow will have pay-by-hour system with a fee that will increase as time elapses. Deputy Mayor María Eugenia Vidal suggested that a five to six peso charge will likely be set for “basic zones”.

A few high-ranking officials have said over the past few days that the second hour could increase to eight pesos, the third hour to 10 and then 12 pesos starting on the fourth hour.

Metered parking hours do not change: Monday to Friday, from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. Nights, Saturday afternoons and Sundays will remain free of charge.

Herald staff with online media

Bolt vs Metrobus.

Jamaican Olympic sprinting legend Usain Bolt will run against a bus on the 9 de Julio Avenue Metrobus exclusive lane next Saturday December 14 at 5:30pm.

The challenge will take place in a 100-metre circuit between Viamonte and Tucumán streets during the iconic athlete’s first visit to Argentina. Other activities on his two-day agenda will be a talk on athletics with children from the City’s southern neighbourhoods and a lecture on leadership to be held in Colón Theatre.

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