Need to solve ‘parking crisis’ within the city
Published on: Sunday, December 08, 2019
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We all know we have regular traffic congestion in CBD KK and around KK in many satellite towns/ commercial centres. 

One reason is the unusual number of vehicles and lack of parking spaces, hence hindering mobility in urban and suburban areas.

While we may not reduce the vehicles entering Kota Kinabalu proper, do we have enough parking spaces for the excessive vehicles?

There are lots of parking issues and we need to address them accordingly.

The parking woes can be exacerbated by the increasing number of multi-storeyed buildings and shopping malls and the congestion would be worse when various festivals come around.

Since 1980s, MPKK and now DBKK had various systems to derive incomes from vehicle parking, and are such parking problems really addressed well? We are aware of parking penalties on top of parking problems pilling up in Kota Kinabalu for decades without any likely solutions to mitigate such matters. 

We had been using the paper tickets for parking charges and we know all the associated problems in such systems as implementation of such system can be much questioned (both consumers, implementers and enforcers) and even more troublesome to enforce collection of penalties from parking offenders. We have also seen in recent years with various big shopping malls and complexes that parking of cars in such places is administered by auto machines where entries and exits are done with tickets and payment resolved instantly with own basement and other floors parking.  

But there are still problems at large as there are really not enough parking spaces in most business zones for various reasons as I will later comment.

DBKK may have introduced the pre-paid parking tickets in recent years and it is still far from over for our parking woes although the e-hailing vehicles and instant motor cycles deliveries have slightly reduced the numbers of vehicles for parking.

The pre-paid parking tickets are seen thrown all over the streets and roads.  That is an adverse environmental impact. 

In UK (1990s) it was the coins operated parking meters on the streets of the cities while some off streets or back streets locations use the sticker’s vending machines. Once in London I had my hired car clamped parking in a metered space as I was unaware of the late evening still needed pre-paid charges.  It was great difficulty to get my clamped car released as it was after work even after payment. With such an experience, this can be a great setback for any tourist with hired car.

In Kota Kinabalu in the 1980s, MPKK tow my car once to the pound yard for a weak case as my car was not blocking traffic. Once the car was towed, how would MPKK and I prove the case of violation or otherwise? 

This letter is only a glimpse of parking encounters with the city authority.

We have also noticed some inconsistencies in our high density buildings and business zones where the authority’s policies have contributed to our “parking crisis” in recent decades.  What had been done cannot be undone now and we have to live with that. Even in some well/heavily supported shopping malls with floors of parking spaces, it may take an hour or more moving there to find a parking lot and clearly an unpleasant experience.

Who do we blame for the “parking crisis” in all Government hospitals and clinics in and around KK? Are we having too many patients unplanned for?

So our “parking crisis” due to shortage of spaces result in ugly double parkings and now DBKK have started to install plastic coloured poles in the middle dividing lines on the streets giving temporary relief to blockages but deter consumers to do business there for inability to park.

So I would suggest DBKK conduct a few townhall meetings to address “parking crisis”.  

I would also suggest that all new high density buildings including Government ones would have really adequate parking floors. Failing that, the Government introduce a policy of owning all parking floors by the local authorities. In such ways, the increased floors would meet the demand of spaces while generate revenue using modern auto gate collection machines.

In such “build and operate” parking floors approach by DBKK, no streets parkings especially for medium /long term sessions be implemented to allow better traffic flows.

There has been for sometime already a proposal that Luyang in Foh Sang have a multi storeyed car park but isn’t it better that the township be re-developed for the owners and tenants as commercial activities there during the construction of new parking only building would be adversely affected. The existing owners be exchanged for new lots in the re-development project as win-win for all.

Wherever possible, the pre-paid tickets (costly printing and litterings) be replaced with paperless auto machines in most areas with installed gates (wherever possible) to reduce penalties scenarios. Also some small back streets parking zones be serviced by stickers coin-operated vending machines. With such systems, we can mitigate non-payment of penalties, paperless or less paper, less wasteful tickets printing and control thereof and reduce human deployment and associated weakness of parking attendants especially in raining seasons with costs saving.

It would be really a liveable and friendly Kota Kinabalu City for tourists and local with improved traffic flows and less congestion with adequate parking for the business community and consumers alike to be more productive.

Joshua Y C Kong

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