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July 2006

Blaue Zone Parking - What to do When You See Blue

One thing they never tell you in German class is just how many subcategories the language has. They don’t tell you because you’d immediately throw your textbook in the bin and make a beeline for the door. There’s the language of bureaucracy, the language of the workplace, the language of tenancy and finally, in a cryptic little category all its own, the language of street signs. You know, little white notices attached to large street signs that include words like eingeschränktes Halteverbot and gebührenpflichtig. Well, for those of you still struggling with Munich’s Schilderwald (forest of signs), at least the Blue Zone parking system in the Altstadt of Munich cleared the woods. The system is intended to simplify parking by eliminating as many street signs (Strassenschilder) as possible and using markings on the road (Strassenmarkierung-en) instead. So far, the Blaue Zone covers three areas of central Munich: the Hackenviertel (roughly the district between Kaufingerstrasse and Sendlinger Tor Platz), the Kreuzviertel (which reaches from Maximiliansplatz to Frauenplatz) and the Graggenauviertel (the rectangle of streets separating Tal from Maximilianstrasse). The Blaue Zone, recognizable by a solid blue line marked on the road, delineates places where parking is permitted from Monday to Saturday, from 8 am to 7 pm for a period of up to two hours. Drivers must purchase a parking ticket (Parkschein) at one of the many machines dotted around each district—the time is calculated in 12 minute blocks and every 12 minutes costs € 0.50. Between 7 pm and 8 am and on Sundays parking on blue lines is free and there is no time limit. Stopping on a blue line without a parking ticket on workdays is allowed only if you are picking someone up or letting them get out of your car (ein- und aussteigen), or for loading or unloading (be- und entladen). The Blaue Zone also includes special parking for large delivery vehicles. These sites are marked with orange lines and truck drivers need no special ticket to park there. Other drivers should be aware that the orange delivery zones (Lieferzonen) are patrolled regularly by traffic wardens, so don’t even consider stopping on an orange line. There are four other road markings that car drivers ought to be familiar with: a red line, indicating that parking is prohibited at all times (absolutes Halteverbot), yellow lines that mark taxi stands (Taxistände), blue-and-white striped road markings, which show parking spaces for the disabled and red-and-white striped lines, which must be kept clear to allow access for the fire department (Feuerwehr-anfahrt). A rule of thumb: parking is not permitted on narrow streets or where there are no blue lines or signage. If you happen to live in one of the three zones, you are entitled to a special permit (Parklizenz) that enables you to park on the blue lines without purchasing a parking ticket. This can be obtained by contacting the traffic department of Munich’s City Council (Strassenverkehrs-behörde), tel. 23 32 27 48. Most of the information, including maps of the Blaue Zonen, can be found at under “Blaue Zone.” Though, after several years, the parking system seems to be working well, drivers still have a hard time when heavy snow covers the markings.

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