Friday, August 3, 2012

Some private residents reject paid parking idea

Straits Times: Thu, Aug 02

SOME private estate residents do not want paid parking spaces outside their landed properties, despite the long-running squabbles caused by visitors parking there.

Almost half of the 50 residents interviewed told The Straits Times that they should get priority when it comes to putting their vehicles in front of their homes.

"As owners, we should have the right to park in front of our property because we live here. Many who park here, don't," said Mr Lam Yeng Fatt, who lives in Thomson Park.

The 70-year-old was one of 40 residents who told The Straits Times that they do not believe home owners who permanently reserve a public space outside their homes should have to pay for it.

Only 10 favoured the suggestion, which arose from a heated discussion in The Straits Times Forum Page after a fight over parking in Serangoon Gardens. In the dispute two weeks ago, a 65-year-old was allegedly beaten up by a resident and his sons for parking outside their house.

But introducing paid parking would be an overreaction, said communications associate Eugene Chan. "People should just be tolerant," added the 28-year-old, who lives in Serangoon Gardens. Others pointed out that the parking squeeze is part and parcel of living in such estates, where families often have more than one car.

Residents also said they would work out parking spaces with neighbours if expecting visitors.

Lecturer Lee Pei Yee said the paid parking idea may be only a stop-gap measure. The 38-year-old, who lives in Thomson Park, wants paid carparks to be built specially for estates like hers, where diners at nearby restaurants often clog up the roads. "The long-term solution for estates in this situation is to... provide alternative parking spaces for those who eat and go."

Those in favour of paid parking point to the safety hazards posed by home owners who reserve spaces by placing pots and bins outside their houses. "There's no place to even make a three-point turn," said 60-year-old Mr Pan Jing Kai, who lives on Charlton Lane in Hougang.

Mr Ng Bok Poh, 66, who also lives there, suggested the authorities "implement season parking lots... for residents... so we are ensured a space to park in the evenings".

The Land Transport Authority and Urban Redevelopment Authority said they work with neighbourhood groups to strike a balance between meeting parking needs and making sure traffic is smooth. When the groups ask for paid parking, they will consider factors such as the road's width and how many spaces can be provided.

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