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Free parking to be offered in Lausanne on Saturdays

Free parking to be offered in Lausanne on Saturdays

Following a compromise agreement between the local council and businesses, drivers headed to Lausanne will be able to benefit from free parking in and around the city on the weekends. The measures are designed to coax people out of their cars and into the city to shop.

Lausanne to offer free parking on weekends from July

In a statement, the local council of Lausanne confirmed that from July 1, 2024, drivers will be able to use the city’s P+R car parks for free on Saturdays. This includes the P+R car parks in Vennes, Valmont, Bellerive, Bourdonette, Velodrom and Grand-Mont. 

Florence Germond, the municipal councillor in charge of mobility, told 20 Minuten that the measure will only cost the city a few thousand francs a year and is mainly a “symbolic concession.” The compromise was reached as the city attempts to make the new tram line between Venens and Lausanne-Flon a reality, while pedestrianising Rue Centrale - the city’s main shopping street. 

Lausanne businesses hit hard in recent years

The two projects caused alarm among some businesses, who feared that the pedestrianisation of the main street and the construction of the new tram line would cause traffic and deny drivers places to park. The Cooperative of Lausanne Traders noted that an estimated third of motorists would not come to the city if they had to do without a car. 

“Pedestrians in Lausanne do not replace these customers coming from the outskirts, the health of our brands depends on it,” noted cooperative president Anne-Liz Noz. She added that the Lausanne shopping sector has been hit hard in recent years, losing 12 percent of workers since 2014. “The challenge is to maintain the balance between accessibility and user-friendliness, amid a worrying situation for the retail sector,” noted local councillor in charge of economic affairs, Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand.

Compromise paves the way for new Lausanne tram

However, contrary to business fears, the local council noted in its statement that only between 16 and 27 percent of Lausanne visitors travel by car, with a third of drivers being in favour of using public transport in future. They also found that those who use public transport, walk or cycle into town also spend more money than motorists as they tend to visit more often.

As part of the agreement, Rue Centrale will be completely pedestrianised by 2025, the western underpass at Place St-François will be renovated during the summer and the Rue Pierre-Viret will become a one-way street for cars with the construction of a new cycle path. The agreement also paves the way for the construction of the new Lausanne tram, which is expected to come into operation in 2026.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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