Posted in Personal

Thoughts on Street Parking in the Philippines

Parking on the streets is a common scene in the Philippines, especially in the metropolitan center of dense population and adjacent buildings. Property owners assume ownership of spaces in front of their residential or commercial spaces even when these spaces are on public roads. The tragedy of the commons makes for these incredible territorial claims. Regulation is weak as the local government is unable to make necessary implementation to hinder parking on streets. The inability of policy implementation may stem from the desire to avoid displeasing potential voters, as most of those who park indiscriminately are low to middle income citizens. The little space they assume as their own is protected by erecting No Parking signs, often invading sidewalks supposedly free for pedestrians. Three motorcycles parked in a geometrically impractical fashion occupy a space for a car. In commercial centers, informal stalls occupy the majority of the roadway, resulting to one-lane streets for jeepneys, private cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians. Sidewalks are also being used by motorcycles and tricycles alike. Bikes can understandably use sidewalks, but, motorized bikes on the same segregated lanes as slow-moving and fragile pedestrians spell trouble. It cannot be helped; the heavy traffic forces motorcycle drivers to zigzag their way between larger vehicles to be first in line when traffic lights go green.
Endangered further are commuters hailing PUVs that stop at the second outer lane to load passengers. Countless times have I been almost a victim of an oncoming bicycle or motorcycle after alighting a jeepney that wouldn’t stop at the outermost lane. Countless times have I made the effort to be a hindrance to motorcycles on sidewalks by walking slowly in front of them and looking fiercely as they pass by. When I’m driving, few and far between are drives when the horn of our car wouldn’t have blasted on the ears of drivers of jeepneys that occupy two lanes while being stopped slanted, barking at passengers while the No Loading sign looks on.
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Author:

I am an Environmental Scientist, Geographer, and Researcher. I am especially interested in urban phenomena and planning.

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