Parking in Warsaw

Is a joke.

I consider myself very lucky (and in a few years I’ll consider myself incredibly lucky) to have dedicated underground parking spaces both at home and at the office. However, there are still plenty of times when I’m with my car somewhere else and those are the times I realize that before very long, parking in Warsaw will be simply impossible!

The main problem, at least compared to London, is the lack of development of multi-storey car parks in the city. This process started in London after the war when it was possible to buy cheap bomb damaged plots and erect car parks on them. The most notable company doing this being NCP (National Car Parks);


Here in Warsaw, there was no shortage of bomb plots but “private enterprise” to develop them was not possible and as hardly anyone owned a car it is unlikely that car parks would have been top of the list of priorities anyway. My understanding is that during communist times you needed a “voucher” to buy a new car or you could try the black/grey market for a second hand one at twice the price. Either way, not many people had a car so car parks were seen as a bit of a waste of space.

Since the ’90s there has been legislation in place to ensure that new developments include appropriate amounts of parking although for a long time these rules were flexible enough to be ‘bent’ if you couldn’t quite build as much parking as was needed. In any case, these are car parks dedicated to a particular office or shopping centre and not general parking for people visiting the city. All this means that Warsaw, for the most part, relies on pavement parking.

Pavement parking is actually a great idea because you can usually just pull up right outside where you want to go. No 2km trek from the nearest multi-storey to the place you want to go. That’s all assuming there are some free spaces, which increasingly in the centre, there are not. Pavement parking is also an eyesore and makes it impossible to develop good looking ‘boulevards’ with wide tree-lined pavements, bustling cafes, wandering minstrels, street artists…….(now I’m getting carried away!). In my earlier days here there were no meters and essentially the whole pavement, any pavement was considered fair game for parking. This freedom is being eroded as quickly as the number of cars increases and so we now have – no multi-storey + less pavement + more cars = nowhere to park.

I’ve grown tired of making a 10 minute drive across town only to spend 20 minutes finding somewhere to park. Nowadays I’ll take a tram or a taxi. Perhaps that’s seen as good for the environment, and it is, but that’s accidental and it’s not going to solve the problem.


5 thoughts on “Parking in Warsaw

  1. Nie rozumiem. One minute they are going to return plac teatralny to its former beauty (i.e. remove the cars) next they are going to provide 320-460 new parking spaces there? How?

  2. Thanks. The first two links don’t work, for me, “forbidden”.

    The Emilii Plater video is basically what is happening already with regards to traffic flow.

    The other two look very pretty.

    If we get any of these underground parkings before 2020, I’ll eat my hat! If this is the best they can come up with, I shall look forward to Warsaw being at a standstill every day. :)

  3. Walk and meet one of those new year resolutions of watching your weight :-)

    I understand parking used to be much worse in warsaw, before they introduced ‘pay for parking’ – maybe the town should increase the cost of parking again that would get people out of the cars….

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