Parking up: Leave the car home

Updated 2017-01-18 09:24:00 Shanghai Daily

Shanghai will increase car parking costs in downtown areas to encourage more use of public transport.

The city's traffic authority also said yesterday other measures would be taken to ease congestion.

The Shanghai Transport Commission will adjust parking policies in a trial operation "to guide a more reasonable use of private vehicles," Yang Xiaoxi, deputy head of the commission, told local legislators yesterday. He said bus and Metro services would be further improved.

Yang made the remarks on the sidelines of the annual session of Shanghai People's Congress in reply to questioning from lawmakers on how to control the increasing number of vehicles and resolve traffic congestion downtown.

"I'm wondering how the city government can solve the problem that the number of vehicles are continuously rising while the city's road resources are limited," said Xu Liping, a legislator.

The commission has set up a special team to evaluate new policies specializing on the control of vehicles' number plates, Yang said. The team would adjust the policies according to the congestion conditions on local roads.

According to the city's development plan, the government plans to further tighten access restrictions on non-local vehicles.

The city had 2.47 million locally registered cars as of 2015, and more than 100,000 new local car plates were issued in 2016. More than 80 percent of vehicles are for private use, according to traffic police.

The large number of vehicles on the roads has aggravated traffic congestion and made car parking a rising challenge for local drivers, Feng Jianli, another deputy director with the commission, said last month.

Feng said it would be more expensive for local drivers to park vehicles when they drive out, and more parking places would be prioritized for those who had nowhere to park at home.

Some office buildings and schools, for instance, would open their parking lots at night for residents living nearby, Feng said, adding parking fees for these spots would be cheaper than street parking.

The city government plans to add 100 night parking spots around residential complexes and hospitals in downtown districts this year. Half of them will be on the streets, the rest at commercial buildings, officials said.

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