No parking lots

October 15, 2018

It doesn’t get any simpler than this: roads and streets are not parking lots.

Metro Manila’s traffic problems are worsened by vehicle owners turning thoroughfares into exclusive private parking spaces.

But streets, roads, and highways are public conveyances that should be kept open and free of obstacles to unimpeded flow of traffic all the time.

Let us begin to treat them the way they were meant or made to be—public access lanes open 24/7 and let us begin by supporting a lawmaker’s call.

The Senate has started the process of ironing out the details of a bill which would require prospective vehicle owners to present proof that they have a parking space for the new vehicle, a bill which Senator Win Gatchalian believes would help ease traffic congestion in the country.

The Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship has formed a technical working group to further study Senate Bill 201, also known as the Proof-of-Parking Space Act, after the bill received full support from different civil society and government representatives during the committee's recent public hearing.

Gatchalian, the author of the measure, said he considers the bill to be quite relevant at this time, since this would instill a culture of responsible vehicle ownership among Filipinos.

"The concept really here is responsibility when you buy vehicles. We are now putting the responsibility on the car owners. If you buy cars, you have to make sure that you have a parking space for your own vehicle," Gatchalian said during the public hearing of SBN 201.

"I think this is quite relevant at this time because, if you try to pass the side streets to avoid traffic in major thoroughfares, there is a greater chance that you'll get stuck in traffic due to the cars parked along the narrow streets," he added.

According to LTO records, the numbers of registered motor vehicles from the year 2015 until 2017 were 10,410,814. There are an estimated new 1,000 registrants each day, 600 of which are newly-purchased vehicles.

Under the Proof-of-Parking Space Act, individuals and businesses based within Metro Manila would only be allowed to purchase vehicles after the execution of an affidavit confirming that they have acquired, either through purchase or lease, a parking space for the vehicle sought to be purchased.

The bill also mandates the Land Transportation Office, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and local government units to conduct frequent ocular inspections of major and minor thoroughfares across the National Capital Region to remove illegally parked vehicles and to punish vehicle owners who refuse to comply with the law.