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Illegal parking in Central can be curbed with more traffic wardens (then there is the idling enforcement)

South China Morning Post — 6 June 2011

The report (“Bosses’ cars blamed for clogging roads”, May 28) reveals that many people are parking their vehicles in prohibited places “because there are not enough parking spaces in Central”.

However you reported on the application Hutchison Whampoa (SEHK: 0013) lodged to convert 78 parking spaces at the Cheung Kong (SEHK: 0001) Center into a supermarket as it claimed that the parking facilities there were not being fully utilised.

This is an ongoing process as Hutchison is now contesting the zoning of the parking facilities. In accordance with the lease conditions it was originally required to provide a public car park with 800 spaces in return for being allowed to build on the site of an existing public car park and Beaconsfield House. Now it wants to reduce the number of spaces. Meanwhile streets in Central are clogged with idling vehicles, many of them with drivers snoozing while they wait for their bosses to call them. There is not a traffic warden in sight and while there are often hundreds of police officers mobilised to stand with their arms folded around the Legco building, little effort is made to force illegally parked cars to use Cheung Kong Center’s parking facilities.

The most absurd situation is that at Bank Street at lunch hour. This short narrow street is a yellow boxed area directly opposite Cheung Kong Center but drivers often idle there for hours as they wait for their bosses to enjoy a leisurely lunch at the China Club.

This is despite the fact that a yellow box always has a large notice stating that vehicles waiting will be prosecuted without warning. Hands up anyone who has ever seen a line of illegally parked vehicles get anything more than a gentle verbal warning to move on.

In a few months we will see the introduction of the idling engine law. Pedestrians will then have a legitimate right to demand swift action against idlers on our streets. However, the number of traffic wardens is to be increased by a mere one per district. With high pollution levels in Central the degree of illegal parking on streets there can no longer be tolerated.

While we sit around waiting for our HK$6,000 lai see, there are many in the community who cannot understand why a small fraction of the budget surplus was not spent on diminishing roadside pollution by providing the manpower necessary to enforce zero tolerance implementation of parking and traffic regulations that would ensure that facilities like the Cheung Kong parking spaces are utilised for their intended purpose.

Candy Tam, Wan Chai

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