Friday, April 14, 2006

W. Shedd said...

This sounds like the beginnings of 'Neeka starting a grass-roots campaign to win back the sidewalks of Kyiv!' I notice the flickr badge is devoted just to parking violations.

Pedestrians of Kyiv unite! :-)

Leaflets on the windshields of cars that violate parking - placed by citizens ... might be one way to start. At least that is the sort of thing citizens do here, until they can get the attention of the mayor, city, and police. [...]

No, W., it's nothing but a way to vent, I'm afraid. I feel so vulnerable next to those huge cars and their owners, you know, and I'm pretty busy, too. But I'm serious about talking to traffic cops every time I can - even though that's nothing but venting, either.

And the photo thingy on the sidebar - it's neat, isn't it? I'm exploring Flickr right now, very belatedly.


Don said:

People/drivers will do what they know they can get away with. There is something about owning a car that empowers people.

You have a very pretty city center. It is worth protecting. It is horrible that cars are getting parked on the sidwalks like this. It will, over time destroy those sidewalks.

Those laws are way too vague. Cars shouldn't be allowed on sidewalks at all. Parking spaces need to be clearly defined with paint or other means. And violations should be consistently addressed. The police need to understand that this is their responsiblilty or it needs to be in a traffic authority.

Hopefully the mayor will figure out how much money can be made by parking fees and violations, and will also realize the value to the community in having a car free city center. But it won't happen without activism and bringing attention to the problem.

I, too, hope someone tells the new mayor about revenues that can be earned from parking fees and tickets. Maybe if old people complain loudly, something will be done - in a few interviews he's given, Chernovetsky said his priority would be helping those "who don't have much longer to live" - sounds horrible, yes, ominous, insensetive, tacky and all that, but who knows.

It has to be taken to a higher level, obviously - traffic cops all over Ukraine should be reminded of their rights and responsibilities, and many have to be fired for incompetence. Some of their rights have to be restored, no matter how 'undemocratic' it may seem. (Or is it called 'duties'? It is. Hard to think of it this way after talking to those two cops who were faking their helplessness to skillfully...)

And I do sympathize with drivers, too. I sort of do. When I'm not too mad at them, or when I think of the people I know, the ones with cars. Omelchenko, the old mayor, used to build all those tacky underground shopping malls, instead of underground parking, and the current mess is the result. Again, maybe the new mayor has some ideas on how to get the city more parking space - but I wouldn't be too hopeful.

Another driver yesterday said that the few makeshift outdoor parking slots here cost 1-2 hryvnias an hour (5 hryvnias is $1); underground parking in the fancy Arena City or whatever it's called is 10 hryvnias per hour ($2) - and most of the annoying sidewalk parking seems to be free (and most cars parked like that aren't the cheapest ones, somehow). Pretty wild.


  1. Rich people don't have time to go find a spot in an underground parking lot where no one could see their nice car anyway. They need to block the sidewalk with their Hummer, do their business, eat a large lunch, and make a quick getaway. They'd be parking on sidewalks all over the world if they could get away with it.

  2. i think neeka touched on the real issue at the end of this post. it's not so much an enforcement issue as an infrastructure issue. there is no underground parking lot except at Mandarin (always packed) and the enforcement there has improved greatly by the way. i've even seen mercedes being towed.

    you can talk to the DAI all you like, but until the city allows/provides/encourages multi-story parking lots drivers need somewhere to park. DAI can not enforce their way out of an unnatural situation.

    i am not sure it's so much about eating a large lunch (Julia), although there is some of that, but it is also about attending an important meeting. and, by the way, meetings are a part of business which do, in fact, provide jobs.

  3. You bring up an important issue, too, Petro: car owners have to get involved in some lobbying along with the pedestrians. And car dealers. And the banks that provide car loans.

    As for DAI, there are certain rules, and if there's a clear violation, something needs to be done, no matter what. If someone parks next to a sign that prohibits not just parking, but stopping there, and if a pedestrian is forced to step off the sidewalk because of the guy's car, and the cop stands right there but isn't paying attention - well, it's hard to blame the city in this specific case.

    And let's not forget that cops might feel as vulnerable as I do next to some of those guys - which is part of the reason some of them feel free to park wherever they like.

  4. I imagine that in time this issue will resolve it's self one way or the other. I live in a place where nobody goes anywhere without getting in a car. Usually a big huge truck or SUV with one person in it.

    They can never build enough parking lots to keep up. And the really bad thing is that a great number of these people where I live are driving to work, and to the store, and everywhere they go in trucks big enough to haul freight! It's obscene. And then we complain about the price of gas, we will go to war for oil, drill in places that should be left alone, and pollute the air.

    I noticed a Hummer H3 in one of your photos. Who needs to drive something like that to work? How ironic, a consumer version of a vehicle designed for the first gulf war.

    And worse yet, The economy can start to revolve around car ownership like here in the states. It pushes things in a direction that isn't healty for the environment or the community. In the long run it won't be sustainable, like gulf wars.

    I could go on and on. But don't get me wrong, We've been a car culture here since after WWII. I love my car! (and my truck) I'm a product of this culture and as guilty as anyone. But I made sure I live close enough to be able to ride my bicycle to work.

    But I can tell you that riding a bike to work really goes against the grain here. Thankfully in new developments they make bike lanes. But you often take your life in your hands to ride in the bike lanes, and the police harass you if you ride on the sidewalk.

    In fact, you take your life in your hands to drive a small car amongst the big trucks and SUVs. And that is why everyone drives those things. It's all very sad.

    Don't feel sorry for those people who park their Hummers on the sidewalk. On the other hand,.. perhaps you should.

    Value your "evil trains" while you still have them.

  5. All forms of transportation are a compromise and have cultural, economic, and environmental repurcussions. That being said, the US has been built on the scale of the automobile and not the human scale for quite some time. I live in the northeastern US, which is different in this respect than most of the rest of the US ... but even so we have our suburban sprawl.

    I live near a train station and could literally walk to the station and ride the train into Boston or any other major city in the US. Of course, the train schedules here are not very useful, or else more people might take advantage of them. But I can say for a fact there are other disadvantages with trains, besides schedule. Like NOISE. Trains are as loud as a rock concert you've ever been to. My town has to endure either a passenger train or a freight train rolling through it almost every hour of every day. I live close enough that for those moments, I simply can't be having a conversation or watching a movie. And trains and train tracks themselves pollute a great deal, don't fool yourself.

    Back to Kyiv's parking issue ... it sounds like something civic planners just need to change. The sidewalks and streets appear wide enough in many of these photos to allow for diagonal parking, wide streets, and wide sidewalks. If need be, parking garages and such should be built in downtown areas, where it might become possible. Underground parking is another option as well, although more expensive. There are parking garage systems now that work essentially like a vending machine for cars - it allows the maximum amount of cars parked in the minimum amount of space. My understanding is, their use is common in Europe and they are starting to catch on in some east coast US cities as well.

  6. We have a transit system here that is under used also. It's just too easy for people to jump in their SUV. For now anyway. As long as they can get gas and oil. If there was some real effort to conserve I wouldn't have a problem. But it just doesn't make sense for everyone to get around in a 5000 lbs vehicle. It is a problem. It might not have been in the 1950s but it certianly is now. I'd be fooling myself to think otherwise. Park underground? Perhaps when they dig the hole they might find more oil.

  7. Rough estimates of parking business for the city: 10,000 cars minimum parking in downtown almost every business day * on average 10 grivnas a day per car (full day parking or hour parking) * 250 business days = 250,000,000 grivnas (about $50,000,000) - one more potential source of annual income for the city, which could constitute 2.5% of the total budget for 2006 (9,524,647,000 UAH at

    It would be also great money for the businesses to earn, but unless it is allowed to park in the sidewalk, "voz i nyni tam" (nothing much will happen).