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Tougher parking regulations expected next year

By Zheng Jinran | China Daily | Updated: 2015-06-01 13:52

Beijing's lawmakers are planning new regulations to ease the chaos caused in the city by too many vehicles and too few places to park. Strict measures are likely to include the need for residents to buy a parking space before purchasing a new car.

It is expected that current car owners will have to prove they are paying for parking spaces, and parking violations will be punished, according to Vice-Mayor Zhang Yankun in a report on Friday to the Standing Committee of the Beijing People's Congress, the city's top legislature.

A study of the problem will begin this year, and the new regulations are expected to be launched next year, Zhang said.

Beijing had 5.59 million vehicles at the end of last year, but only around 2.9 million parking spaces. Based on internationally accepted guidelines, there should be 3.5 million parking spaces to meet the current demand.

The city has been increasing parking spaces by 150,000 a year, said Guo Pujin, director of the Urban Construction and Environmental Protection Committee of the congress.

Finding land for building parking lots will be a challenge for the government, he said, since they will occupy large spaces in the crowded capital, where land is already a scarce resource.

Parking is a headache for residents who have to rush home to find a space every day, which sometimes leads to fights, lawmaker An Lijuan said. Regulation is needed urgently, she added.

Parking regulations were not listed in the annual legislation working schedule for this year, according to the document released on the website of the legislative body.

But they were added to the working agenda because of the urgent need to ease parking problems, which are linked to serious traffic congestion and severe air pollution from exhaust emissions, many deputies said on Friday.

Some residents have concerns about parking lots before purchasing vehicles, such as Zhang Yiqun, a 31-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing.

"It will help curb traffic congestion, but also make vehicle purchases more difficult when added to the restrictions on license plates," he said. Zhang said he had failed to get a vehicle license plate in the past two years in Beijing, which has used a lottery method since 2011.

"Besides, it's hard to build new parking lots, especially in old communities like where I live," Zhang said.

Chen Yanyan, a professor at Beijing University of Technology's Transportation Research Center, said: "About 10 years ago, Beijing released a similar regulation to guarantee that vehicles have regular parking spaces, but it faded away due to the limited technology in supervising parking lots.

"Some people used faked certificates to prove they had parking spaces so they could purchase vehicles. The technology is not a problem now, as long as the government strengthens supervision and management."

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