Prague Municipal Court rules against parking on the sidewalk

Two recent rulings found that the districts broke the law when they took away part of the sidewalks from local pedestrians. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.06.2023 13:04:00 (updated on 14.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Prague Municipal Court has ruled against two districts using sidewalks for parking. The districts did not sufficiently justify taking the sidewalks away from pedestrians. The rulings were both based on the districts' failures to follow proper procedures and are not a precedent to ban sidewalk parking in general.

This week, the court canceled sidewalk parking in Horní Street in Prague 4 and in late May did the same for a section of Nerudová Street in Prague 1’s Malá Strana district. Some residents in these cases complained that the parking infringed on their rights to access public spaces. The administration of the districts argues that the areas lacked sufficient parking spaces, even though many people paid for parking permits.

The decisions are in line with current European trends to expand pedestrian zones, decrease vehicle traffic, and reduce urban parking. Prague’s current strategy for urban development also calls for minimizing parking spots in public spaces.

According to the most recent court decision, the Prague 4 Town Hall has 60 days to cancel the parking spaces on Horní Street but it can he can issue a new decree if it improves the legal justification.

One plaintiff in the Prague 4 case said she was satisfied that common sense prevailed, as the situation in front of her house was dangerous for children. Another said that cars on the sidewalk sometimes made it impossible to pass by with a baby carriage. Others added that two people going in opposite directions could not pass each other on the sidewalk as it was too narrow. Residents complained about the narrowing of the street on Twitter and Facebook last year when the court case was filed.

"I am glad that the court confirmed that the town hall's action was illegal and annulled the measure. In such situations, the town hall must deal with citizens' comments. And we consider this to be important, especially since most of the street's residents do not own a car or do not use the paid parking zone. On the other hand, we all use the sidewalk as a public space in front of our houses," one plaintiff said, according to transportation news site Zdopravy.

The court's ruling said the district did not fully justify the measures for taking away part of the sidewalk. The Prague 4 authorities only considered traffic flow and parking but not the impact on pedestrians.

Prague 4 Mayor Ondřej Kubín disagreed with the court ruling. He said that residents need to have the possibility to park near their homes and that the sidewalks are wide enough to accommodate cars. Letting cars use the sidewalks helps to improve safety since it widens the road so it is easier for emergency service vehicles to pass by, he added.

Some parking spots on Nerudova Street have to be removed

At the end of May, the Municipal Court gave the Prague 1 district three months to remove parking spots on Nerudova Street near Prague Castle. In this case, the court held that the district failed to allow the public to comment on the issue, according to news site Deník N.

"The measure was not issued in the manner prescribed by law. It was not just a formal defect, as due to the absence of a legal procedure when adopting the measure, it was not possible to submit objections and comments to the measure, and the measure does not contain the justification required by law," the Municipal Court stated.

The district will have to remove the parking spots, and if it wants to reinstall them, it will first have to put in place a process that allows for public comments. Tomáš Hnyk, a member of the Prague 8 Green Party, filed the lawsuit. "I don't have a car and it seems to me that there are too many of them in Prague and sidewalks are meant to be walked on, not to be parked on," Hnyk told Deník N.

Nerudova Street is part of the Royal Route, a historical trail that is popular with tourists. According to the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha), some 35,000 people walk in its upper part every day.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more