Parking, Places and Parking Places

by Steven van Groningen on 17 December, 2010

Is seems to be en vogue to express opinions on areas in which you don’t have any competence. I decided to try this out for myself and picked a subject I don’t pretend to know much about: parking in Bucharest.

Now, it is not difficult to have an opinion on parking in Bucharest. A lot of drivers and car owners seem to have one: if you cannot find a legitimate parking place within 100 m from where you want to be, you are entitled to park wherever you please. In case of rain this distance is reduced to 20 meters. In the right lane, on the sidewalk, at the corner, in the park, on the grass, on bike paths, pedestrian crossings, wherever, there seem to be no limits.

It is not my fault

They don’t consider it their fault when they block traffic, create dangerous situations for pedestrians, hinder bikes or destroy flower beds and delay public transport. The blame is on others that didn’t provide them with a parking place when and where they want it. Or maybe they simply consider themselves so superior that they don’t even think twice about violating the rights of lesser beings like pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.

My opinion is a different one

In the first place we need to accept the fact that there will never be enough parking spaces for all cars and certainly not in the spots where most drivers would want to. Like in every major European city. The number of available places is limited. We can adopt the solutions of other major European cities or maintain the chaos in Bucharest, the choice is ours.

The solution is not building more parking garages, but to enforce parking regulations. Of course more parking garages would help, but every time I visit the offices of ARB, very close to the entrance of an almost empty parking garage, I see with my own eyes that the parking behavior is exactly the same. So, the availability of parking has apparently nothing to do with the behavior, it is just an excuse.

There is absolutely no incentive tot invest in parking facilities when they are not utilized. Only once we start enforcement of parking regulations, parking facilities will follow.

Of course reliability and speed of public transport needs to be improved. Again this is at least somewhat related to enforcing parking regulations. Public transport is hindered severely by cars blocking the lanes of busses and bus stops.

Solution Is To Enforce Parking Regulations

What works is to enforce parking regulation, we can see this all over Europe. I have heard several stories of Romanians traveling abroad getting fined for not respecting the parking regulations. They had to pay huge fines and learned what the locals already knew. When you park where you are not allowed to park, your car will be towed away so fast that nobody risks it. If you park where you are allowed to park but don’t pay where you have to, you will lose possibly hours with a wheel clamp and be fined so much you will never do it again.

They also learn a third thing: the parking police doesn’t argue or negotiate.

I hope you understood that I am not complaining about lack of parking places to park my car. No, I am complaining that, when I run, walk or bike in the city, cars are parked all over the sidewalk, bike paths and road. I am complaining that I don’t feel comfortable biking because of the behavior of the cars and lack of bike paths (but I still do it). I am complaining about the fact that, when I am driving my car, traffic is slow because many drivers park their car in the right lane and simply block off an entire lane for traffic. Expensive parking pace ! Police is doing nothing about it.

I apologize to those drivers and owners of cars that do respect the parking regulations and behave responsibly, believe me, I know how it feels and know that not all drivers behave the same.

Why Is Nothing Done About This ?

The lack of action is frustrating and I don’t understand this (told you so at the beginning). Enforcing parking regulations should easily be a self financing operation. The city would be a better place to live in, public transport would be more reliable and there would be an incentive to build parkings because cars will need to find legal parking places for which they have to pay.

Am I missing something ??

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Vali December 17, 2010 at 14:24


Unfortunately you are not missing anything. While reading your (very decent and perfectly logical) opinion above, I couldn’t help but think of the new parking place currently being built under the University Square — will it ever be used? I doubt it, when I think that there is another underground parking place very close (the one at the Intercontinental Hotel), which stays almost empty, while cars are (illegally) parked everywhere in the area…


Radu December 17, 2010 at 16:11

Companies tasked with towing vehicles operate on a very simple principle; they just go to a few places where they are certain to find cars parked illegally and just keep going back and forth between that area and their HQs. If you look carefully in Sectorul 1 you’ll often see the orange trucks going by in groups of 3 looking for cars that are easy to pick up. Or they simply tow cars that have (literally) half a bumper beyond the “no parking sign” .

If they went around and looked for cars that actually block traffic instead of hapless drivers (especially from out of town) everyone would be far better off. Also, Romanians don’t yet have the culture of “this guy is an asshole I’m gonna call the cops/towing company to pick his rustbucket up and clear the sidewalk”. I tried calling the cops (021 9544 for the Traffic Police) but the line was busy and while the towing companies DO have their hotline numbers on the trucks, they also should put little signs/stickers in areas that are most prone to having cars parked moronically.


Iulian Boia December 17, 2010 at 19:14

I believe you`re right about the need to enforce the law on this issue, as well as on many others that we have in Romania.
Last year when I spent some time in Bucharest I wanted to implement an initiative about getting rid of the old cars laying around in many neighbourhoods – you can check the blog i`ve created esspecially for that
Unfortunately I had to leave the town and didnt` manage to finnish it can free about 2000 parking places only by doing this!


Luminita January 14, 2011 at 13:49

Parcarile, o problema mare pentru soferi dar o problema si mai mare pentru pietoni! in orasul in care locuiesc autoritatile locale au dat dovada de maxima inteligentie si au transformat peste 50% dintre trotuare in parcari pentru masini! OK! s-a rezolvat o parte a problemei, dar pietonii pe unde vor merge! pe autostrazi? care autostrazi? poate pe cele suspendate sau autosuspendate (pentru ca nu mai suntem in campanie electorala)! solutia e mai simpla decat credeti, mergeti cu mijloacele de transport in comun! ce e asa de greu? au asa fac si, SURPRIZA, nu intarzii niciodata acolo unde imi propun sa ajung! in plus, port tocuri! sunt un fan al metroului bucurestean, poate si pentru ca la noi nu exista asa ceva! mi se pare mie sau RZB – Administratia Centrala are sediul foarte aproape de una dintre statiile de metrou? Veti spune, probabil, ca nu se cade ca un presedinte de banca sa mearga cu metroul/tramvaiul/autobuzul/taxiul etc! Atunci, problema nu o mai reprezinta lipsa parcarilor, ci un orgoliu prea mare! Oricum, promit ca atunci cand voi veni in Bucuresti sa va cedez cu mult drag locul meu din metroul bucurestean!


Vali March 29, 2011 at 21:09

Draga Luminita,
Din comentariul tau pot sa imi dau seama ca te-ai ratacit si ai ajuns pe blog-ul asta din greseala. Daca ai fi citit si ce urma dupa titlu, ai fi inteles cam ceea ce orice om normal a inteles si anume: soferii parcheaza oriunde vor ei justificandu-si nesimtirea prin lipsa locurilor de parcare (desi asa cum se mentioneaza si in mesaj exista in centru parcari subterane/supraetajate care sunt goale la orice ora din zi si din noapte). Problema domnului “Presedinte de banca” nu era ca nu isi gaseste un loc de parcare (te asigur eu ca asta este treaba soferului), problema era ca nu te poti plimba, alerga sau pedala pe trotuar din cauza masinilor parcate aiurea (am tradus ca poate nu stii toate cuvintele). In plus daca tie ti se pare “maxima inteligenta” sa inlocuiesti 50% din trotuare cu locuri de parcare inseamna ca esti la fel de desteapta precum prostul care a venit cu ideea asta. Multa bafta in continuare!


Luminita April 7, 2011 at 10:33

@ Vali
Iti multumesc pentru observatiile facute! cred ca pe acest blog fiecare are dreptul sa-si expuna punctul de vedere asa cum considera, esti de acord cu mine? cunosc foarte bine problemele legate de parcari, insa recunosc faptul ca pe mine ma ingrijoreaza mai mult problema pietonilor. Ce e rau in asta? nu inteleg cu ce te-am suparat? Tu nu ai inteles ceea ce am vrut sa spun, dragul meu! autoritatile locale din orasul in care locuiesc tin partea soferilor, in sensul ca in dauna pietonilor (care in afara de comentarii rautacioase obisnuiesc sa mai achite si taxe si impozite) au transformat peste 50% din trotuare in parcari, in loc sa faca parcari (asa cu ai sugerat si tu). Pe mine ma deranjeaza ca in loc sa cautam solutii simple (de genul ca atunci cand esti grabit poti foarte bine sa folosesti mijloacele de transport in comun), ne plangem ca nu gasim locuri de parcare sau ca unii nu isi fac treaba pentru care sunt platiti. In ceea ce priveste gradul meu de inteligenta, permite-mi sa-ti sugerez ca nu e bine sa faci aprecieri asupra oamenilor necunoscuti, chiar si indirect! Iti doresc o zi excelenta!


Zee January 17, 2011 at 00:20

Hi there,
Good post. My comments as to solving the problem on my blog at
Do you enjoy living in Romania?


Dee March 31, 2011 at 13:47

I truly enjoyed reading this post. I have never been to Bucharest but my fiancee was born and raised there. She is currently back home with our son visiting. She was showing me pictures of Sector 3 and Sector 6 where her family lives. I never believed her when she told me that they park on the sidewalks and in the right lane. After seeing just a few photos I quickly realized that she was telling the truth and not just pulling my leg!! I looked on google maps and used the street view to go up and down streets in her neighborhood and was floored by all of the illegal parking! Just a simple enforcement of the parking law would solve this issue while generating revenue. I know that the locals would probably lose their minds during the initial stages of parking enforcement.


SvG April 1, 2011 at 09:29

Indeed it is had to believe and every time I back from a trip abroad it still strikes me.


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