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Parking on the sidewalks in Poland - why is it allowed?

BLS 65 | 188  
11 Jul 2009 /  #1
One of the most interesting aspects of Polish life to me is cars parked on the sidewalks - it was probably the biggest surprise to me when I first visited this country 6 years ago. Is this a Polish thing or does it occur in other European countries as well?

I guess I can understand it in the larger city city centers and, perhaps, the older parts of town, but this seems to occur everywhere. I live in an area near the outskirts of Kraków which has plenty of elbow room - however, I must constantly walk on the streets because entire lengths of sidewalk are blocked by parked cars. This area was developed about 5 years ago and is up to date in regards to street widths, parking, etc. - however, the drivers ignore the "lines" that delineate the available parking spaces and pull their cars up onto the sidewalks. Meanwhile, scores of parking spaces under the buildings remain vacant (no doubt because of their cost, but come on...paying for parking is one of the many burdens of owning a car).

I understand that space is at a premium in Poland, but this seems a bit ridiculous. I came here from Chicago - a very large city with severe parking limitations. However, it is absolutely illegal to park on the sidewalks there (and I believe throughout America). I remember spending up to an hour some nights trying to find street parking in my neighborhood - if I would have parked on a sidewalk, my car would have been ticketed or towed the next morning.

Does anyone have any input on this subject? In a pedestrian society such as Poland, one would think that keeping the sidewalks clear would be of greater importance than it seems to be. Not withstanding the inconvenience issue, it is simply not safe for those of us who choose to walk to our destinations...
terri 1 | 1,665  
11 Jul 2009 /  #2
I think the law as it currently stands is that "as long as 3 metres of sidewalk remain clear, then cars can park". You will find this everywhere - one of the quirks of Polish life.
OP BLS 65 | 188  
11 Jul 2009 /  #3
3 meters would be wonderful - most times, there isn't even 30 cm...
terri 1 | 1,665  
11 Jul 2009 /  #4
sorry, I was mistaken, I think it states -1 metre-only, maybe someone can actually quote us the law - or what they can find out from the police.
g60edition 6 | 175  
11 Jul 2009 /  #5
Parking on the sidewalks in Poland - why is it allowed?

Yea right I got a parking ticket the other week,no visible signs in sight.I took my UK licence in he did not understand me or my old paper licence so no fine to pay :-)
benszymanski 8 | 465  
11 Jul 2009 /  #6,na,chodniku,316.html
according to this website you are allowed to park on the pavement if the vehicle is less than 2.5 tonnes subject to there being no "no parking" or "no stopping" signs. You have to leave at least 1.5 metres of space for pedestrians and not obstruct the flow of traffic.

I think that in reality in most towns the parking rules are simply not enforced. As a driver, for me personally, this is great :-) However when I am pushing the buggy around and have to circumnavigate blocked pavements it's annoying :-(
bunia 1 | 134  
11 Jul 2009 /  #7
Ocasionally in the city center someone might get a fine but usually its not enforced to leave at lest some of pavement free. Especially if its area of the city with 11 story blocks of flats. That gives you around 60 families and lets say a car each - not easy situation.

People in Poland are still not used to pay for parking next to their home. If they pay its usually "parking strzezony" (guarded park space).

One of those things you just have to get used to :)
OP BLS 65 | 188  
11 Jul 2009 /  #8
Unfortunately I am used to it by now - it just seems a bit bass-ackwards in a pedestrian-heavy society...

(I know - welcome to Poland!)

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