They hate car drivers, these Amsterdam borough councils[April 5, 2013]
Just when you thought they were being abolished, those wretched borough councils decide to keep on demonstrating why they should never have been created in the first place.
Yes, the bright sparks in West voted by 15 votes to 14 to press on with plans to dig a car park under the Singelgracht by the Marnix swimming pool, chop down a bunch of trees, whack up parking permit fees, remove loads of parking spaces from above ground and force car owners into the bowels of the earth.
The project is a joint adventure between West and Centrum. The idea is to create 800 parking places under water, not as you might have thought to ease the shortage of spaces above ground, but to remove cars from public view.
This, the councils say, will improve the liveability of the area. All well and good, except for the fact that we like to have our cars in front of our houses, not 300 metres up the road, so we will drive around and around until we find somewhere to park that is a little more convenient.
And quite how chopping down a large number of the wonderful old trees which line the Nassaukade is going to help improve the environment is anyone's guess.
But the biggest joke of all this is the funding. The project, say the bright sparks will cost €60m, so anyone with half a brain (and who has watched how every Amsterdam infrastructure project spirals out of cost control) knows it will cost at least twice that.
So how will the bright sparks foot the bill? Why, by putting up the cost of a parking permit 75%. Perfectly logical really. After all, at a cost of €70,000 per parking place, somebody's got to pay.
It certaintly won't be the bright sparks of West when the borough councils are abolished next year and they head off to the sunset clutching their big fat unemployment cheques.