Wednesday, August 13, 2008

International parking laws make roads a driving heaven

The other day I was on my bike, driving to the nearby mall. Right at the end of the road a biker was standing with one of his friends. His bike was parked perpendicular to the road in such a manner that it blocked half the road at the corner, disregarding the traffic rules. Now I have a bad habit of giving my piece of mind to the people who have pledge not to follow the road safety and traffic rules. So I just asked this guy why you did not park the bike parallel to the road the answer I got was "I did not know that you were coming this way". The question here is that "Is it necessary that we get a parking ticket or someone object, before we follow the Traffic rules/laws or just correct our habits"? Can't we park our vhicles according to the road safety regulations?

Anyways I had promised that I'll post something about How the street parking and road usage issues are handled internationally. Well I am not an expert in road safety issues or street parking laws but, would still like to contribute my bit for making everybody's life a little hassle free. Who knows that someone concerned from a government agency comes reading this blog and might like to implement some of these International parking which have proven good for other countries. Here I am writing about the wonderful road safety regulations Vancouver has for parking and road usage.

I was talking to someone in Vancouver who provided a lot of information about street parking rules there, for rest I have googled arround. There is a separate department 'City' which is responsible for streamlining safety regulations within the city. An inspector of the city may give notice to any person ordering that person to discontinue or refrain from any work that occupy any land which is meant for public use (How many times have we seen the entire street used to dump the building material for a store being reconstructed). In India the responcibility of maintenance of roads has been given to specific branches of the government. Some roads are under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), other roads are under the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and still other roads are under different authorities like NDMC, PWD and similars. I know the authorities like Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Public Works Department (PWD) have rules against these improper usage of roads. But there is a need to enforce these rules with HONESTY. Don’t we all think so? I guess these bodies should follow the international standards and take the task of defining the on-street parking laws, governing road use and road access, to clear the roads and more importantly the streets we drive on.

The Vancouver city recognizes that residents have a priority in parking on their streets thus it have rules to help reduce outside parking pressures. One of the measures that apply to most streets in Vancouver is the Three Hour By-Law. This By-law prohibits non-resident parking in front of any property for more than 3 hours between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. This By-law is meant to restrict commuters from regularly parking all day on residential streets. This Law is enforced on a complaint basis only and when a vehicle is found to be repeatedly in violation. Residents may phone Parking Enforcement to report an offending vehicle. This decongest the roads (okay the streets) to help the drivers keep their cool while driving. Where parking pressures from outside a residential block are high, Residential Parking Only (RPO) signs are installed to reduce the street parking. But there are rules for Resident Parking Only (RPO) Zones. If the parking problem cannot be solved by enforcement of the 3-hour By-law, an RPO zone may be installed when the following criteria are met:

  • The on-street parking density on the block is at or near 100% during problem times.
  • The problem is caused by non-residents and occurs at least twice a week.
  • Some households on the block do not have any off-street parking spaces.
  • RPO is supported by petition signed by minimum 67% of residents of the area.

    On the other hand, areas which have schools, hospitals and other intensive parking generating buildings, are categorized as Resident Permit Parking (RPP) system areas. In these areas even the residents need to buy the permits for parking their vehicles on the roads that too where there are signs indicating "No Parking Except with Permit". RPP systems are more restrictive than RPO systems. Vehicles parking in these zones must display a valid area permit, so a portion of most blocks is left unregulated, or more commonly, governed by time-limited parking signs. But motorists displaying a permit for people with disabilities are allowed to park in RPO or RPP zones for up to 3 hours.

    The areas under RPP zones and timed stopping areas display the time-limited parking signs on the roads. These signs indicate how long a vehicle is permitted to stop in these areas. Infact timed-parking concept is common in other countries like America and England too. Vehicles can stop only up to 5 minutes for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading of merchandise or discharging or taking on passengers. While for a "No Stopping Anytime" zone, vehicles are not allowed to stop for any reason. This includes letting passengers out, picking a friend up for ride, running to the ATM machine, buying a pack of cigarettes or listeing to that ringing phone. This "No Stopping" symbol is used in bus, taxi, commercial, special event, police, parking for people with disabilities and temporary zones.

    In a "No Parking Anytime" zone, motorists displaying a valid permit for people with disabilities are allowed to park for up to 30 minutes while actively loading and/or unloading passengers or materials.

    There are many traffic laws for street parking vehicles to ensure the safe passage of other vehicles and/or pedestrians. These laws suggest that vehicles must not be stopped within 6 meters of the inside edge of the closest intersecting sidewalk. While on streets/roads without sidewalks vehicles must not be stopped within 9 meters of the nearest edge of the pavement of an intersecting street to provide clear visibility and ease traffic flow at intersections. Another law states, vehicles are not allowed to block or stop within 1.5 meters of a private road or sidewalk crossing. Vehicles must be stopped or parked parallel and within 30 cm. of the curb or the edge of the roadway facing in the direction of traffic. Any lane that has commercial property allows only vehicles with commercial identification to stop in these lanes. In busy commercial areas, warning signs have been posted in most lane entrances. Vehicles must leave at least 3 meters (roughly 10 feet) clearance in lanes to allow for the free movement of other vehicles (this would be applicable for the gentleman I mentioned in the start of my post). Vehicles are not allowed to stop within 2 meters of the inside edge of the closest sidewalk, an intersecting street or lane. These road safety rules discourage motorists from leaving their vehicles in a manner that would pose a safety threat or inconvenience other drivers or pedestrians.

    Now let me compare these street parking rules against the rules we have here in Delhi. Though we have the law against the obstructive parking, it only says that one should not park at the corner of the road or too near the crossing. But does it tell me how much is too near the road. Is it 2 meters or 2 feet from the crossing? The laws in Vancouver, those we read clearly say that, on streets without sidewalks vehicles must not be stopped within 9 meters of an intersecting street and for streets with sidewalk it should be 6 meters. People keep parking their cars leaving too much space between the street wall at times we see two or more vehicles parallel parked. This is not only against traffic rules and regulations for road usage, but dangerous for pedestrian traffic too. The rule to leave a space not more than 30 centimeters from the edge of the roadway would definitely free up a lot of space on the roads /streets for other vehicles to move freely. I would request your comments on the road safety laws I have stated above which have made Vancouver city, a heaven for driving. Also your suggestions on other traffic rules which could make our driving eased up, are more than welcome. Rest lets hope for the best. I'll keep posting on other ways to reduce some load on the roads.
  • Read more!