The government of Vienna is to hold a consultative referendum in March 2013 and one of the four questions concerns the Summer Olympics.
The question of a bid to host the Summer Olympics of 2028 is one of four questions to be put to residents by the City State government of Vienna. If you lived in Vienna how would you vote? Would the Olympic Games held here, in the heart of Europe, encourage you to visit this wonderful city?
While the Games may be the most ‘sexy’ of the four questions, the one that is likely to continue to cause the greatest debate will be the matter of the short-term parking scheme that has already been extended to a number of outer districts. While the recent changes have lead to more on street parking spaces in the districts concerned (residents have to pay for a parking permit & commuters are discouraged by the high cost of short-term parking) neighbouring districts, without the scheme, have suffered from increased pressure on street parking.
Interestingly the question isn’t a straight one of ‘Are you for or against the scheme?’ Instead Vienna residents will be asked ‘How is the parking situation and quality of life for Districts residents to be improved?’
A) Parking regulations should be established for each district.
B) There should be a solution for individual districts (with regard to the neighbouring districts).
Thus the Red/Green (Social Democrat/Green Party) coalition avoids being challenged directly on the existing expansion of the scheme and instead asks voters to support a citywide expansion or the new status quo. Personally, I think there are merits for Vienna in the parking scheme but the coalition appears to be cautious in defending/promoting its policy. Based upon reports I’ve read and the reality I’ve seen on the streets, the value of the scheme has yet to be either confirmed or refuted, which may explain the question (and inclusion of other questions) in the referendum.
- It is now easier to park in districts with the newly introduced scheme and a nightmare in neighbouring districts.
- There has been a lot of criticism from the State of Lower Austria, which geographically surrounds Vienna, many of whose citizens commute into the city.
- Lower Austria has talked about Vienna based businesses now wanting to relocate because of the impact of the parking scheme.
- The expansion of the parking scheme has added to Vienna State income at a time when the City’s government is investing heavily in improving the public transport infrastructure.
- Parking/traffic was already one of the biggest concerns in Vienna before the expansion of the scheme.
- In the first month or so of the schemes expansion the level of traffic using the motorways into Vienna did not drop significantly (something that would be a negative if the pattern remains unchanged over time).
The remaining questions, one asks people if the services of water, sewage, refuge collection, energy, hospitals, public transport, should be protected from privatisation. The other seeks support for expansion of social/domestic solar power projects.