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May 5, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

No parking spot could well mean no buying a car

LOCALS who fail to secure a parking space for themselves may be banned from buying cars in future as the city moves to tackle the growing problem of parking lot shortage.

The new policy will require people to prove to the government that "they have already acquired a car space" in order to purchase a vehicle, local police said yesterday. This means that potential car buyers would have to rent or buy a car park space first as a precondition to buying a vehicle. Details and timetable for the rule are still being discussed. The government hopes to use the new strategy to control the city's deteriorating parking lot shortage.

But the scheme is already stirring controversy, with some locals deeming it groundless.

"How can such a policy be legitimate?" questioned a local resident, who declined to give his name. The office worker lives in downtown Zhongshan Park area and hopes to buy a car. But the problem of getting a stable parking space around his crowded neighborhood along with related high costs has put a dampener on his plans.

Ge Ming, a local orthopedic doctor who plans to buy his first family car early next year to prepare for his son's first school year, is also surprised at the policy.

He argued that since shortage of parking facilities was most severe in downtown, mainly within the Middle Ring Road, asking people to secure a car space before buying a new car will hardly be helpful in solving the problem.

"It's not difficult for residents living in suburban districts to secure a stable parking space in their neighborhoods. But if they drive into downtown on a daily basis, parking will remain a big headache," the doctor said.

Instead of setting up a threshold for future car buyers, he said it would be wiser for the government to carry out policies to effectively restrict the number of cars flowing into downtown.

Garage buildings

Traffic police said in some cities abroad between 5 to 10 percent of urban parking capacity comes from dedicated garage buildings, which offer big parking capacity. But in Shanghai, the percentage is only 1 percent, with the rest supported by garages inside shopping malls and office buildings and legal street-side parking zones.

Local authorities said they would relieve the shortfall by building more space-efficient garages inside local neighborhoods.

The local government says it relies on the monthly car plate auction to help control the number of automobiles on local roads. But despite skyrocketing plate prices, which continue to scale new highs, the number of locally registered cars continues to soar, reaching about 1.7 million at present.


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