17th May, 2011

Travel Tuesday: Resident Parking in MyCity

One of the things that must be done when moving in Germany is the changing of the dwelling you are registered in with the office of the city (Buergeramt) your new residence is in. That’s actually quite easy to do and free of charge. However, I also have a school car registered to my address and I had to change that as well, so I had to wait for a document from my new landlord saying that there was no parking associated with my rent contract or the new building I lived in.

Armed with all the documents needed, I went to do that today.

Changing the registration for myself turned out not to be a problem. I just showed the guy my passport and new rent contract and he changed it all for free. When it came to the car, I gave him the previous permit and the document from my landlord, and he also changed the permit to the new address. However, the car is registered in a different city, so he asked me why and I told him that it was the property of the company I work for. He said, ‘Okay, no problem’ (it’s normal for company cars in Germany to be registered in the city of the home office of the company). The whole process took about 10 minutes and after printing out a map of the new zone the car can be parked in, I returned to the school to take care of a few things before my next class.

Then I looked at the map.

It didn’t make much sense to me, but I thought that that was my problem.

So, once again I solicited the help of the nearest German.

After looking at and discussing it with her, she said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense. I’ll call them and ask.’

After taking the phone tour of MyCity, she was finally connected to someone who told her that they could help. After explaining why she was calling, the person on the other end chuckled and told her she wasn’t the first person to call about this.

Here”s what we learned.

First of all, the Ordnungsamt (office that makes sure all the rules are followed) is in charge of the parking meters and enforcing parking regulations (which they are very lackadaisical about). However, the public parking areas are determined by the Tiefbauamt (Public Works Department). However, apparently the two don’t communicate. So, while the Ordnungsamt may say that it’s okay to park in one area, the Tiefbauamt might determine that it’s not a public parking area.

On the map that I have, it lists the areas I can park in as B & C (there are three of both). However, it also says that there is no parking other than short term parking allowed in area C . which, of course, is quite a bit of the area. However, public parking IS allowed in area C and people can leave their cars there overnight if they don’t have a residency permit (for free). In addition to that, another school car we have has a permit next to the one that mine is registered in and we leave it in the C areas all the time, sometimes for several days at a time and has never gotten a ticket (cars are rarely towed in MyCity).

So, basically the car can only be parked in half of the areas it should be able to be parked unless I want to run the risk of getting a ticket (from an office that (as far as I can tell) doesn’t really care) for parking in an area that the car should be allowed to be parked in, but is technically not.

None of this really makes all that much sense to me, and it’s basically because the right hand of MyCity doesn’t know what the left hand of MyCity is doing.


i had to smile and laugh when i read your story. the german “Ameter” are soooo…….they’re just so……well, i guess you know what they’re all about!

lived there myself for 16 years prior to 2005, went back this past summer for the first time, interviewing for jobs and looking to get established there again. within 3 weeks, i vividly recalled why i left in the first place and would have no intention of ever going there again if it weren’t for the fact that my son lives there with his mother.

good luck to you and enjoy- i’ll continue to enjoy the aspects of it that i did enjoy from afar.