Lifestyle & Belief

German town's female-only parking spots good for business, mayor says


Claudia Lutz (L) and Christiane Huber of the Kirnbacher Kurrende Black Forest costume club cast their votes for the German federal elections on September 27, 2009 in Germany.


Johannes Simon

The introduction of female-only parking spots has the mayor of a small German town courting controversy.

Mayor Gallus Strobel of Triberg, in Germany's Black forest, told Der Spiegel magazine that the introduction of 12 female-only parking spots was a natural decision as men were better at parking than women.

The women’s spaces were also reportedly better lit and wider, while two new spots designated men-only had concrete pillars to negotiate, Strobel reportedly said.

"In the new car park we found that two place were not rectangular, at an angle to the road and placed between walls and pillars; that makes parking difficult so we decided to allocate them to men," the 58-year-old mayor said.

Strobel told the magazine that women were welcome to attempt parking in the men-only spots, but that "men are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges." 

The Sydney Morning Herald pointed to a recent study by the UK's Department for Transportation's Driving Standards Agency that suggested women were more likely to fail a driving test than males because they tend to have issues reverse parking.

However, that contradicted previous research suggesting that women were better parkers because they were more careful and took more time to park accurately.

Strobel said that aside from some "humorless reactions from the political correct" he had received positive feedback, and the parking spots had been good for local tourism.

Britain's Daily Telegraph described Triberg as "a small town of 5,000, more famed for its waterfalls and natural beauty than being a bastion of male chauvinism." 

The paper quoted Strobel as saying: "I never expected this reaction. I've been on the phone all day, the TV will come. I am happy, and it looks like we've hit a raw nerve in society. It's been a great marketing gimmick."

He added: "Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they're at it they can see the town's attractions." 

The Fairfax media reported that Triberg was not the first city to introduce women's parking zones: Tianjin in China recently introduced a women-only parking zone marked with a pink paint scheme and including wider spots, brighter lighting and additional guide rails.

More from GlobalPost: Academics vote ‘shitstorm’ German’s best English loanword