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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

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18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

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14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

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11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

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7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘Raising parking fees inevitable’

26 September 2007 - It is too early to say that the PvdA has given in to the car lobby by rejecting higher parking fees, says GroenLinks council member Barn Geurts. But clean air targets must be met one way or the other.

Yesterday, the PvdA group in the city council announced that it rejects the plans of alderman Tjeerd Herrema (also PvdA) plan to increase parking fees to 3.80 euro per hour in an attempt to fight air pollution. Council member Myriam Bergervoet calls Herrema’s attempts ‘very courageous’, but she warns his plans will harm businesses and people with low incomes.

The PvdA wants ‘less emphasis’ on parking fees and more emphasis on promoting cleaner cars and improving public transport. Asked what she means by ‘less emphasis’, Bergervoet says that if fees are to be raised at all, this should only apply to the city centre, and not for example to the Indische buurt.

In a response, Geurts says that all involved, including the PvdA and SME’s, agree that EU air pollution norms must be met by 2010. “The city has a responsibility, not just to the EU but also to its citizens”.

While he is open to suggestions, he doubts that this goal can be met without raising parking fees. “We don’t have much time left. We can’t afford to have another year of discussions”. He says that it is probably inevitable to raise parking fees, which might lead to a 13-15% reduction in car traffic.

Geurts points to a study published last week, which states that the impact of such a measure on local businesses will be limited and only short term. Bergervoet says the study does say that some businesses will suffer. “It will ruin shops along the Kinkerstraat”.

As for the PvdA’s concern that people with low incomes will be the victims of higher parking fees, Geurts responds that parking permits will not become more expensive, unless people have polluting cars.

In addition, he says that people with low incomes are more likely to be victims of air pollution and therefore more likely to benefit if the air quality improves. “When I worked at an environmental organisation, quite a few people asked me where they should move in order to avoid areas with high pollution. People with low incomes often don’t have the means to move to another address”.

Last week, SME’s, the Chamber of Commerce and the VVD launched media campaigns against higher parking fees. Geurts says that it is too early to say that the PvdA has given in to the car lobby. “We have to wait and see what proposals Herrema will come up with and how the council will respond”.


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