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March 4, 2013

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Parking, shelters to expand under city

MORE underground parking lots, which also serve as civil defense shelters, will be built in the city to help relieve the shortage of parking spaces, local civil defense officials said.

New underground spaces are being set up at locations such as residential complexes, greenery area and subway stations.

They are being equipped to function as shelters for residents in emergencies such as wars, according to the Shanghai Civil Defense Office, which is overseeing the development and management of underground spaces.

"Shanghai's underground spaces have seen a rapid increase in recent years, and reasonable use of the space as well as maintaining public safety are important," said Shen Xiaosu, director of the office.

The city had more than 63.9 million square meters of underground structures by the end of last year, with about half being garages that can handle 936,000 cars.

The number of underground parking spaces increased by 95,000 from 2011. Still, that growth hasn't kept up with the increase of cars. The city has 1.4 million private cars, with the number expected to soar to 1.62 million by year's end, said city traffic administrators.

Limited land resources are forcing planners look underground for future spaces.

Also, in the past three years, civil defense officials have set up shelters at underground lots covering 6 million square meters. Underground spaces with civil defense shelters also are being built at tourism sites such as Songjiang District's Sheshan Mountain.

"Such a vast underground area brings us considerable economic interests, but the sources are being wasted due to lack of information sharing," said Zhu Hongchao, a city lawmaker.

Parking fees are collected by developers who invest in the projects, said officials.

Planning encouraged

Zhu said other interests should be consulted - such as businesses close to where more parking will be needed - to encourage future plans for underground spaces. The structures are crucial to economic development because many serve both shopping and traffic-hub functions, officials said. The city also should ensure such spaces have new technology to guard public safety, officials said.

The city this year also will test open-space emergency shelters like schools since underground structures are vulnerable to floods in weather emergencies.


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