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December 23, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Help vowed for parking downtown

THE city government plans to increase the number of parking spaces downtown during the next five years to alleviate a crunch that leaves the city hundreds of thousands of berths short of what it needs.

According to a draft plan released yesterday, residents of commercial buildings inside the Inner Ring Road area will enjoy the policy of "one berth for one household." Outside the Middle Ring Road, park-and-ride facilities will be enhanced, with car owners urged to park near Metro stations and take subways to get downtown for work.

The city is also encouraging companies and institutes to open parking lots to residents at night to handle a problem that is among the city's biggest complaints. About 270,000 cars have no designated place to park at night, with residential compounds always crowded with private cars, said Shen Xiaosu, deputy director with the city's construction and transport commission.

"The total number of parking berths are not enough," said Shen. "During peak hours, the problem greatly affects the traffic."

Shen said the problem has existed for a long time and is only getting worse due to poor planning as more and more people drive cars in the city. About 1.2 million private cars are downtown each day, said Shen. The figure includes commuters and residents who live downtown.

According to the draft, downtown street parking will be subject to time limits during the day so that more people can use spaces.

"Many buyers do not see the problem at first, then they have to squeeze their cars in wherever available, which worsens the problem," said Yang Xiaoguang, a professor in the traffic and transport school of Tongji University.

City traffic authorities are soliciting public opinions on the draft. Shanghai has tried many methods to solve its parking headache. One has been to use the space under elevated roads and bridges to provide free parking. Another is to build multilevel parking garages.

Residential communities are allowed to renovate open spaces to accommodate more cars, if more than two-thirds of property owners agree, and can get subsidies to build multilevel parking lots at the complex.

Downtown currently has about 780,000 public parking berths, falling well short of the ideal 1.14 million. The situation is dramatically worsening, as about 250,000 more vehicles are hitting the city's roads each year.


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