Solving ‘creative’ parking in Hong KongBy Aida Sevilla Mendoza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HONG KONG—In this bustling megapolis, China’s free port and host city to global trade and commerce, “creative” or illegal parking is as much an art, and a problem, as it is in Metro Manila.
According to an article in the Sunday Morning Post, suggestions offered by the police to solve the traffic problems caused by creative parking, especially in the Central district, were dismissed by the Transport Department.
Last month, the police department fielded 400 officers to crack down on creative parking in Central and Kowloon that resulted in an increase in the issuance of parking tickets. In one day alone in Kowloon, police issued 302 tickets for illegal parking and other parking offenses.
But a police source told the Sunday Morning Post that using their officers to monitor parking problems was a waste of resources and would not solve the problem in the long run. He suggested better ways to tackle the issue that would leave police officers free to address more urgent concerns.
The police source recommended the erection of parking meters at the Central district to legalize certain parking and take the pressure off. He also suggested the employment of more traffic wardens by the government to cover these areas. Or the task could be delegated to the private sector so that certain companies would enforce traffic laws instead of traffic wardens, the way it’s done in some British cities.
However, a Transport Department spokesman said that the existing policy was the best way to cope with illegal parking. He asserted that since traffic is generally busy in Central and many buildings have no internal loading or off-loading facilities, parking tickets would affect traffic flow and greatly reduce the scarce spaces for legitimate loading/ unloading activities, in particular those used by public transport.
The Transport Department spokesman cited the current parking policy that parking for all types of vehicles should preferably be provided off-street to optimize the use of limited road space and traffic circulation. He claimed that there are ample off-street parking spaces in Central.
Meanwhile, the parking crackdown will continue as parking enforcement will remain a duty of traffic wardens with no plans for police to outsource it. The crackdown on illegal parking in Central was the culmination of publicity, education and enforcement activities, a police spokesman said. Police identified 18 illegal parking black spots in Central including Queen’s Road Central, Connaught Road Central, Pedder Street and Ice House Street.