Mari LaaksonenThe driving style quickly reveals that he has been driving in the center of Helsinki for more than 20 years.
In the blink of an eye, he sees the first empty space after 10 minutes of driving and parks evenly parallel to it.
"The latest joke is the bike racks placed in the city parking lots! Then you lose two parking spaces per street," said Laaksonen.
Laaksonen owns the cleaning industry CleanMarin, whose customers are mainly located in the city center.
The company’s cars move from place to place, so finding space is almost another profession for his employees.
"The company’s parking permit costs 740 euros a year." said Laaksonen. "A permit means you have the right to park on the street – it doesn’t mean you have space to park."
Laaksonen not only speaks for his own company, he is also the chairman of the Helsinki Chamber of Entrepreneurs.
The organization conducted a membership survey this fall in which companies found they were particularly concerned about the lack of street parking and the prices it paid to use it.
The survey asked about a hundred companies in the city center for their opinions on parking. About 80 percent said there are not enough short-term above-ground parking spaces in the area. More than 70 percent of respondents said parking is too expensive on weekdays.
Hundreds of facilities are disappearing from the city center
Dozens of premises have disappeared from the city center, especially around the Kruununhaa roadworks.
In addition, the new tram lines in Western Helsinki currently require space for parked cars. About 180 seats will be lost in the next few years thanks to tram work.
Other premises will be removed from Fredrikinkatu, Runeberginkatu, Topeliuksenkatu and Nordenskiöldinkatu.
According to Helsinki’s traffic and street planning manager, there is a shortage of space in the city. Reetta Putkonen.
"If we could put cars underground, we could use the street space for the other needs of the townspeople," said Putkonen.
Parking prices are determined by supply and demand
The city of Helsinki has prepared a parking fee plan this autumn, which will be presented to political decision-makers in the spring.
The main principle of the plan is the law of supply and demand, the price of which is determined by how many people use the space.
"Pricing allows us to better free up space for short-term parking, which is important for those who do business in the city," said Putkonen.
According to the plan, the price of a resident’s parking permit could rise to 90 euros per month and business parking to 93 euros per month.
That is three times more than the current 30 euros a month.
If the maximum increase in parking prices is realized, the price of parking on the street will increase by more than seven euros per hour in the most desired places.
The new plan means that prices can change up to once a month when the real-time pricing strategy takes effect.
Source: The Nordic Page