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 ??