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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who should enforce on-street parking rules? Not the Police!

Police tend to have bigger things on their priority lists than enforcing parking rules. But parking enforcement is important!

So most parking experts say the police force is a poor choice to tackle an illegal parking problem.

Which agency handles parking enforcement where you are? Is it working well?

Since 1991, local governments in the UK have been able to take over their on-street parking enforcement from the Police (and most have done so, such as this example). Peter Guest at the Parking World blog tells the story of "one of the decisive moments in the history of parking in the UK".  The trigger was
"... a terrible incident in London when illegally parked cars blocked fire access to an apartment building and as a result several children were burnt to death. At this point it became clear that the Police could not do the job and the argument changed from trying to get them to do a better job to taking it off them." 

Of course, that doesn't eliminate griping from UK motorists about 'overzealous parking wardens'. In fact, effective enforcement probably increases these complaints. Hint: if complaints about parking enforcement outnumber complaints about illegal parking, then enforcement is probably doing OK.

Here is a team of European experts on who should get this responsibility:
Powers for enforcement should be delegated to the local authorities in ways comparable to the Dutch, Spanish or UK approach. Legislation also must make it possible that income from parking fees and fines are made available to the local authority, being the authority in charge of enforcement. ...  This legislation should also provide for the possibility to contract the actual work out to private parties.  ...   The result is that enforcement of parking rules need not compete with the other priorities of the police and so get the priority that is needed.
[Source: "Parking Policies and the Effects on Economy and Mobility" (pdf) report of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action 342.] 

Singapore joined the club this month when its Land Transport Authority took over the enforcement of illegal parking offences from the Traffic Police. And in Japan, a set of 2006 reforms greatly improved the effectiveness of parking enforcement by allowing local police to delegate parking enforcement to private contractors.

Of course, the authority to write parking tickets is useless if you can't impose any consequences for non-payment! This is the problem faced by Malaysian municipalities. 

Malaysian police officers in action against illegal parking in Kuala Lumpur.
If you ignore this fine, you may be unable to renew your registration next year.

This Kuala Lumpur City Hall enforcement officer is also writing citations for illegal parking (photo taken 5 minutes after the one above). However, ignoring his ticket will NOT land your car on a blacklist. For some reason, the Federal Government hasn't agreed to cooperate with local governments to make this happen. No surprise then that many motorists simply ignore parking fines issued by local governments in Malaysia. 

So in desperation, the Malaysian municipality of Subang Jaya in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, is trying something new
... motorists who double-park at USJ 10 (Taipan) may find a yellow tag attached to the side mirrors of their vehicles.  To have the tags removed, they must drive to the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) headquarters across the road and settle an RM80 fine.  The enforcement officers will then remove the tags when the motorists present proof of payment.

Again, which agency handles parking enforcement where you are? Is it working well?

3 comments:

  1. Great point made in your usual wonderful fashion.

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  2. In Ottawa it is the City Bylaw enforcement office. And you do have to pay their tickets.

    Generally, Canadian parking tickets are X dollars if paid within 2 weeks or X+15 dollars if paid after that.

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  3. Some really interesting issues in here. It's fascinating to see how enforcement works on the other side of the pond!

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