Four more
Down under

No spaces

This week The Observer had a piece about the problems of parking in the UK:

Already eight in ten cars driving through urban streets are not heading to a destination, but instead are manned by drivers roaming in search of somewhere to park, according to research released by the RAC last week.

I'm not sure about that, but there's an interesting contrast with Hong Kong.  There is very little street parking in Hong Kong, and virtually all of it is meter-controlled from early morning to late at night.  So almost everyone has to pay to park their car, either by the hour, day, week, or month, or by buying or renting their own parking space (there are a few villages with their own car park, but that's about it).  Very few employers (apart from some schools and colleges) provide free parking for anyone but the most senior executives.  Free parking in shopping centres is available for a short time if you spend enough money.

So free parking - in the street outside your home, in a car park where you work, or even at the nearest supermarket - is not something that anyone in Hong Kong would expect.  Yet it's quite normal in the UK and most other countries, though you have to wonder how long that can continue.  More car parking can be made available, but at a price:

Cavernous car parks beneath congested urban centres are being looked at by several companies. Officials at the British Parking Association have examined the northern Italian town of Cesena, where underground self-parking technology is used to automatically park vehicles underground. It takes on average 50 seconds for motorists to retrieve their car.

Underground car parks are common in Hong Kong and in some cities in Europe, but not yet in the UK.  The problem of ventilation makes the idea of automated parking quite attractive, and as a bonus it takes away the frustrating experience of driving around a car park hunting for a space.  Not common in Hong Kong, though, as far as I know.

If you ask me (which people rarely do), the Hong Kong approach is the best one - make parking expensive, public transport good (and cheap), and taxis plentiful and not too expensive.  Then people don't buy cars.  Problem solved.


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HK approach - you missed one other thing that makes HK work: make sure everywhere you could possibly want to go is within a 3km radius.

Didn't need a car for my 6 years in Honkers:

"Momen-tai. Lockhart Doh, m-goi," one way.

"Bowensh sshDoh, burp, for me enn theeshe lubberly ladiessshh, burp, mahal na mahal kita, baby! -- krise! izat sunrise already? -- errrmm-goi-sigh... An'One got takshee money?" the other.



If I could just get some financial help to relocate closer to where I work, then I would gladly get rid of my car.

But since I live over 25 miles away and the closest bus stop is 2.5 miles away from my house, then I'm kinda stuck. :(

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