Exactly 110 foreign students applied for parking permits this academic year. For five euros a month, they can park their cars in areas around the city centre, including Brusselse Poort, Mariaberg, Villapark, Sint Pieter, Jekerdal and the parking lot at Noorderbrug/Franciscus Romanusweg. This is not much, considering the fact that 275 places were reserved for students who do not have rooms in Maastricht, but commute from Germany or Belgium a few times each week.
The Maastricht city council had hoped that this action would decrease the heavy traffic in “problem streets” such as the Cannerweg, the Bilzerbaan and the Frans van de Laarplein. This has not really happened, says Jo Haesen, who works for Student Services and is involved in the project.
At the moment the city council is holding a survey among foreign students, asking them if they applied for a permit, and why they did or did not apply. On the basis of the results, Haesen says, it will be decided whether parking for 5 euros a month will be continued and may be extended to other areas.
There was also no rush on the new parking place in Randwijck, where Dutch and foreign students who live in Maastricht, can park their cars seven days a week free of charge upon presentation of their UM card. “We had hoped that a considerable number of people would park their cars there on Monday morning and use their bicycles for the rest of the week,” says Haesen. "But only a few have done so. The majority would rather park their cars just outside the paid-parking zone, closer to their own accommodation".
Incidentally, foreign students who are registered with the city council under an address where paid parking applies, can apply for a regular parking permit for a car that is registered in their name. This also applies to cars with foreign number plates. More and more use is being made of this possibility.