Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam’s two biggest cities, Hà Nội and HCM City, severely lack parking spaces for cars, the Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newsaper reported.
The images of cars parking illegally in streets and on pavement are popular in the two cities.
According to transport experts, the capital city of Hà Nội is facing a serious lack of parking lots, as personal motorbikes and cars have been increasing considerably year by year.
On a 5-km section from Tràng Thi Street to Điện Biên Phủ Street which accommodates many office buildings, hospitals and shops, there is no parking lot, the paper said.
The similar situation occurs in long and busy streets of Bà Triệu, Trần Khát Chân, Huế and Hàng Bài.
The parking lot shortage has caused many inconvinience for people.
“Whenever I go for appointments in a bank in Bà Triệu Street, it takes hours to find parking space,” said Trần Công Bảy, a director of a private company.
“Within a radius of one kilometre, I couldn’t find any parking lot. Many times I stopped my car 1.5km away from the bank and took a taxi there,” Bảy said.
Taking advantage of the situation, many illegal parking lots have been set up with high fees.
The parking lot in a street near Hoàn Kiếm Lake is an example. The car owners have to pay a fee of VNĐ50,000 (US$2.2) per two hours from Monday to Friday, and VNĐ70,000 or VNĐ100,000 for weekends and holidays.
The fee is much higher than the city’s regulation of VNĐ30,000 per two hours.
According to colonel Nguyễn Xuân Đình from the Ha Noi Police, at present, the city has total 939 parking areas, 687 of which are on pavement and 245 ones are on the street.
Notably, 244 parking areas are illegal, the colonel said.
In HCM City, along the streets of Lê Duẩn, Lê Lai, Nguyễn Thị Nghĩa in districts 1 and 3, everyday cars make long queue for parking. Meanwhile, in small streets like Bùi Thị Xuân, Trương Định, Sương Nguyệt Ánh and Lý Tự Trọng, a part of the streets were used as paid-parking lots which cause traffic congestion in rush hours.
In the busiest districts 1 and 3, there is only one parking lot owned by Samco Company, which contains a capacity of 500 cars and 3,900 motorbikes.
In fact, the streets and pavement are packed with parked vehicles while there are lots of room in the underground parking lots of many high-rise buildings.
One of the reasons drivers prefer parking in streets than in underground parking lots in high-rise buildings is lower fees.
In the streets of Mạc Thị Bưởi and Ngô Đức Kế of District 1, the parking fee is only VNĐ5,000 while fees in underground parking lots range from VNĐ10,000 to 40,000 per three hours, and VNĐ200,000 for overnight keeping fee.
Besides, parking in streets is more convenient than in basements of buildings.
Nguyễn Thành Vĩnh, a driver, said “I always choose to park my car in the street because it is convenient.”
“Driving in and out from buildings basements takes time, and parking your car there is quite costly,” he said.
Nguyễn Quang Minh, a coach driver, said he prefers parking in street because the fee was cheap and easy to catch passengers.
In fact, it is difficult to find parking spaces in central areas but in outskirts many parking areas could not be used at full capacity.
According to Tăng Thị Thu Lý, Samco’s deputy general director, the company’s five-storey parking area in District 1 has been operating at full capacity of 450 lots with monthly fee of VNĐ2 million.
A five-storey parking building in Tân Phú District--with investment capital of VNĐ5 trillion--has 1,500 lots with keeping fee of VNĐ1.3 million per month but so far it has just used 30-40 per cent of capacity.
Nguyễn Văn Tiến, the parking building’s owner, said that “the reason of lacking clients was that many residents around the building setting up parking areas and offering lower keeping fees”.
In central areas of the two citites, demand for car parking has become more and more intense, as the campaign to clear pavements for pedestrians are hitting a peak.
In HCM City, the municipal authority has appealed businesses to build eight underground parking areas in the District 1 for last 12 years.
Until now, though no project has been undertaken.
In 2005, the Government agreed with the HCM City’s proposal of building an underground parking area in Lê Văn Tám Park.
But so far, the project remains on paper and out of reality, because the investor continues to consider refund ability.
In Hà Nội, the situation is the same.
Among hundreds of car keeping service companies, MTV is the biggest company owing 200 areas with 10,000 lots for cars and motorbikes.
However, the parking lots are far from the increasing demand.
Recently, the municipal authority has agreed to build underground parking spaces in Thống Nhất Park, Nhân Chính Park and Quần Ngựa Stadium, Cách Mạng Tháng 8 Square, and Cỗ Tân Park.
However, no authorities have set a time line to carry out the plan. — VNS