Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Free Parking!!


It's hot and stormy in Paris at the moment. Consequence? The level of pollution has jumped from "good" to "poor". When this happens, the Paris authorities declare a "free parking day" where all residential parking (that is only the cars that show a resident parking permit) is free all day. This clever measure aims at encouraging people to use public transportation instead of their car. Parking in many locations (outside the very center) will also be free during August. But it has nothing to do with pollution, it's just the tradition.

56 comments:

  1. Wow -- that looks more like a slot machine than a parking meter. What a nice idea for pollution abatement.

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  2. Hey -- I think I got GF today!! : )

    "Woohoo" ha dit la reine du jour!

    I'm attaching some colored paper streamers to the crown -- just for fun. ;}

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  3. Eric..Funny, if you click on the link the air has already improved in Paris and the map is all blue or "good"!! Maybe they have a crystal ball or have traveled in a time tunnel?

    After suffering for weeks with the smoke from the California fires here I totally understand the perils of "bad air"!! Horrible!!

    We have "Spare the Air" days here, where people are encouraged to use public transit but we won't be rewarded with anymore Free Transit days this year. We have used them all up!

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  4. At first, I thought that was an old public phone. Free parking is always a good idea. From time to time we get free ride in public transportation in and around San Francisco when the air quality is really poor, up to 3 days a year.

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  5. TF and TF -- Its too bad it has to be limited to 3 days a year, but I guess its a trade off so the city doesn't lose too much revenue. I wish LA would start something like this. Needless to say, we could use about 4 weeks a year of free transit days. I never think of Paris as having any type of smog or pollution.

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  6. Perhaps the storm will blow all the pollution away. That parking meter looks absolutely terrifying!

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  7. The meter does look very scary to the uninitiated! But Hooray, free parking! When I am lucky enough to go to Paris, I am planning to use the Metro. I've never thought of Paris having smog, but I imagine all large cities have to think about it.

    Thank goodness I love my small town!

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  8. What do you know - just today in the Yahoo newsfeed: Autolib to go electric?

    This push-button interface has a certain, mmm, doorknobby feel to it. Is there yet hope for a series of a day's "hand journey" through Paris?

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  9. Eric, I understand that Parisians can now view a lighted helium balloon built by the Aerophile company that will display live reports of ambient air quality and air pollution from auto emissions. This creative lighting system (large tethered balloon) can be seen from 12 miles away and the color of the balloon will indicate the air quality. Interestingly, it will also provide balloon rides for up to 30 people at a time. It's located in the Parc Andre Citroen. BTW...this colorful attraction would make an excellent PD Photo in my humble-pie opinion. But I'm curious as to how the Parisians are reacting to it? Your thoughts?

    Carrie...streamers on the crown, eh? Enjoy it!

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  10. Congrats on GF Carrie! The streamers will look nice on the crown. I too thought this looked a bit slot-machinesque. I like the composition of this photo with the motorcycles on each side, and the urban feel of the meter with the old faded brick building in the background.

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  11. I thought it looked scary, too! Things we're used to in our daily lives might look strange to newcomers. This meter is the kind of thing I'd have to study, but I imagine once you learn it it's easy.

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  12. OK, that is the most complicated parking meter I have ever seen in my life!!! And is that a TV screen I see on the left surrounded by all the colored switches? Mon Dieu! What could that be for? Does the mean meter maid pop up and say, "Vous ne pouvez pas faire le parking ici aujourd'hui - pffft!"

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  13. P.S. Where is Tall Gary?? I just noticed that all of the Friday luncheon group is here except TG!!

    Carrie - congrats on le doigt d'or!!!

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  14. Pont Girl, very funny!

    And, what do we say back to the mean meter maid? (Adopting our best air of righteus indignation.)

    "Oh la la! Madame la Parking Police - beudeu geu deu, pffft!" And, she backs right down now that she sees we speak French. Hmmm. How satisfying. ;}


    Non-plussed mean meter maid: {:[


    Yes, where is Gary the Tall? Our little pod is incomplete.

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  15. Carrie how could you miss Tall Gary, who is lurking just above you?! Look up!!! I love your commentary to the Madame la Parking Police - can I quote you on that??

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  16. I could only park in Paris in August, or on a day when the pollution was bad—otherwise I might have to figure out how to feed this contraption!
    Actually, that's a brilliant idea to get people to leave their cars where they are. Does it work?

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  17. Tonton Flaneur "After suffering for weeks with the smoke from the California fires here I totally understand the perils of "bad air"!! Horrible!!" I feel for you my darling. Finally I can breath again without coughing.

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  18. We are really fogged in here in San Francisco. The wet fog does clean our air -- I think Tomate posted a really cool photo a while back at her site of the fog in San Francisco. A picture is worth a 10000 words.

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  19. Ok, I know I'm slow, but I don't understand how free parking would deter people from driving into the city? I would think that more expensive parking would do that?

    In case you care, the company that makes these parking meters is called Parkeon. They used to be made by Schlumberger, but they since sold this part of their business.

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  20. Mais oui, Katie, of course you can quote me! I hope that works out for you. : )

    I missed Garissimo L'Altissimo because his post was verrry short while my very erudite composition took a long time to put together so as to achieve just the right delivery, ( :} ) and so, he posted while I was writing.

    When I'm writing, my computer doesn't show other people's posts, so I'm just seeing his now!
    Voila, l'explicacion.

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  21. Also my streamers kept getting caught in the keyboard -- very unwieldy they are.

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  22. Michael, That is the US government's take on it too. The other night a friend of mine was in SF for a conference. He works in DC and he asked me if I would go out with him. Curious, I said, yes. He said that they are planning toll roads in California like they have on the East Coast to deter people from driving. (This is the short version of the story.)

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  23. Which explains righteus instead of righteous....

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  24. Congrats on your GF, Carrie. We're all here now, I just don't have anything interesting to say. I think you all should do all the talking and I'll just lurk.

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  25. That is an interesting concept. In Sacramento, California, we have what we call "Spare the Air" days. When pollution is bad, people are encouraged not to mow their lawns, drive if not necessary, etc.

    Unfortunately, with cuts to our already poor public transit in progress, it is highly unlikely that we will have any real impact on pollution, and certainly can't do anything like this.

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  26. Coltrane, you can find all info on this helium balloon, and all the others, at www.aerophile.com. Apart from their "aerophare", (which is "the product of a combination of the Eiffel Tower and the tethered balloon"), these balloons cannot fly when wind is over 13 m/sec, i.e. 45.6 km/h (sorry I don't know what it is in mph!).
    The Parc Andre Citroen balloon is there since 1999. But, as you said, it was very recently modified to give life air quality reports.

    There used to be one of these balloons in Cheverny, where I live, and I must say that the view from up there is great ;-)

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  27. I'm with Michael, too, it's a peculiarly Gallic logic that thinks free parking will cut car use. What about free Velib instead?

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  28. Oh, and by the way, for our PDPers in California, there is one of these balloons in Orange County Great Park. See http://www.ocgp.org/gpb/

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  29. I have always enjoyed pulic transport in Paris. The métro is gorgeous. I would never use a car there, parking free or not.

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  30. sigh.......I want to live in France.... :(

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  31. Michael+Ham. Simple: only those cars with a local parking permit can park for free. The other ones (from the suburbs or from other areas within Paris must pay)

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  32. April, I wish I had your take on the Metro. I hate taking them in ANY city. Love getting to my destination quickly, but it makes a problem connecting the dots from place to place.
    After all these years, I can connect the dots, and can take buses in London and Paris, as I know the map well, now, and know where I am going. So much more fun to take a bus. I still would be afraid to drive.
    Carrie, you won gf today, but I am going to have to put on my judges wig in the future for some of these other questionable winners I have been silent about!

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  33. The parking machines in Paris confuse me completely. I've stood before them trying to figure out how the system operates, but gave up. Fortunately, I was walking anyway. The ticket machines for the San Francisco are train from the airport was equally confusing, even though it was in English! I had to ask a commuter how it works. I would never have figured it out from the directions. The techies who design the things should never be allowed to write the instructions. And the technical writers aren't much better. Aesthically, I love this parking machine. Like something out of the Jetsons tv show of the 1960s, or the Dr. Who show from England.

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  34. By the way, looking at the link to the AirParif 'level of pollution': what is the icon on the indicator scale? Is it an eye that's crying from pollution? Is it a fish that's freaking out? It's quite intriguing.

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  35. ...or a dog celebrating with the GF crown?

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  36. Interesting idea with the balloon! I'd love to see it sometime.

    Michael, it kinda confused me at first too. Good thing smart-guy Eric could clear it up some!

    My first thought when I saw this meter was how it looks like a mix of old and new technology. Like they just ripped the face off of an old parking meter and put in some fancy new(er) tech and didn't even bother with the aesthetics. It sorta looks like a jumbled mess, but on the other hand it's sorta appeasing my love of steampunk. I'm not even sure why, really.

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  37. Steampunk! I had to google it. I love that stuff. Didn't know there was a word for it. Now I'll use it all the time.

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  38. One thing you may not notice on the meter is at the top there is usually a solar collector(?) to recharge it's batteries.

    Petrea and Soosha - I googled "steampunk" too and I still don't understand what it is!

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  39. I think steampunks are a mix of reviving the old-school build-it-yourself older technologies, plus having an aesthetic leaning toward a late victorian machine look. So they might know all about steam engines, and compile the parts, and make something that uses steampower in their garage. They may join old-timer groups to learn how to operate old trains. Or they may apply that old look and feel to to something like this.

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  40. phx-cdg, "I am going to have to put on my judges wig..." I love that one. I'm going to use it if I may.

    jeff, "...or a dog celebrating with the GF crown?" hahahahaha

    jeff again, "The techies who design the things should never be allowed to write the instructions." That's why I can never figure out those instructions.

    Steampunk? I thought that was a typo.

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  41. Michael, I think of it this way: modern objects made with old things. The prime example is the laptop computer made with keys from an old Remington typewriter.

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  42. My new career goal is to become a Solar Steampunk Recharge Collector.

    The women will love me. Especially when I explain what the little blue button does...

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  43. Oh yeah, I see the solar panel.

    This machine could almost be taken for anything. Is that a chicken in there? Is it a microwave oven?

    Jeff, "little blue button does" very funny. I'm affraid to ask. LOL

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  44. I'll ask!

    Hey Jeff? What does the little blue button do?

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  45. It's a really nice idea! I didn't know about it...
    Eric, les gens autour ont vraiment dû se demander ce que tu trouvais d'intéressant à ce parcmètre!
    Guille, bad internet access (en Provence).

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  46. Wow, didn't know I was such a conversation starter! I've seen that keyboard before and I still drool over it! Yeah, steampunk is heavily influenced by all tha has been mentioned, especially the victorian styling to modern stuff. I'll have to find the awesome (though very unpractical) gas mask I saw not too long ago. It's awesome.

    Yes, please do tell what the blue button is for!!!

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  47. thib! I can't read french, so your blog is a mystery to me!!!

    Ooooh my, you were in St. Louis in '97? That was a goooooood year for me. Where in St. Louis did you stay?

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  48. BLUE BUTTON!!!
    BLUE BUTTON!!!
    BLUE BUTTON!!!

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