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September 14, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

No end in sight to city parking nightmare

THE local traffic administration said yesterday that it has increased the number of parking slots as well as Park+Ride (P+R) facilities in the past five years to further alleviate a crunch that is leaving the city hundreds of thousands of berths short of what it actually needs.

However, the improvements still lag behind the rocketing number of registered vehicles in Shanghai, leaving locals with the enviable task of finding a place to park their vehicles at their residence and office.

Downtown has more than 780,000 public parking berths, falling well short of the ideal 1.14 million. "The situation is dramatically worsening," officials said, as about 250,000 autos hit local roads each year.

The city has built six P+R facilities to link five Metro lines, that provide about 2,280 slots, and is aimed at luring drivers to park their cars and take subways to downtown for work.

"In my view, the number of berths added in the past years is even less than the number of car plates issued each month," said Pei Zhen, a lawyer and a member of the city congress, who was in a delegation of local lawmakers that met transport officials yesterday.

To tackle the problem, traffic police are now drafting a new policy in which locals who fail to secure parking space for themselves may be banned from buying cars. Predictably, the move has triggered a backlash amid mounting criticism.

According to the city government's new draft plan, residents of commercial buildings inside the Inner Ring Road area will enjoy the policy of "one berth for one household."

The city is also encouraging companies and institutes to open parking lots to residents at night to solve the problem.

More than 270,000 vehicles have no parking place at night, officials revealed.

With the slow increase in the number of parking berths, some drivers and residential areas are finding indigenous ways to deal with the problem, some of them illegal.

Ji Baohong, a local resident, revealed that the management of a residential complex had removed the surrounding greenery area to make way for more parking space.

Some private car owners have, meanwhile, begun installing illegal locks at spaces along public roads they rent for parking.

The metal contraptions are secured to the road and can be folded down when the person parks his vehicle. The lock pops up and blocks anyone from using the roadway space when the driver is not around.


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