What irks me is the lack of town planning for cars in European cities then the incompetent authorities act like it is all the citizens fault. I get that they have ancient medieval town centers that are almost impossible to modify - but that is no excuse for not providing adequate amounts of free to almost free just out-of-town parking and efficient cheap public transport into the centers (efficient does not mean it has to be profitable in the direct sense).
You're not looking hard enough. Most of the major cities I've driven to in the EU (Belgium and the Netherlands, primarily, over five years) had significant parking on the outskirts of town (never free, land costs money) near the end of the city metro lines. Drop the car there, take the tram, and enjoy a city built at a human scale. Or even better, take the train right into downtown.
I've moved back to the US recently, and I dearly miss those compact cities. I'm in a small city in Georgia now and it's disgusting how much prime downtown space is wasted on empty parking lots. I'd much rather have no parking at all rather than too much, as then you can at least walk or bike.
Don't get me started on the last century traffic lights on timers and no trigger sensors of any kind in sight even at the pedestrian crossings.
Traffic lights is a different matter, and apparently depends on your driving style. I never had a problem flowing through light after light back home, but here I'm constantly being stopped. I'm sure I'll eventually get used to the timing here, as you would over there.