Although it takes a certain level of talent to adroitly and succinctly enumerate the shortcomings of life, otherwise known as “pointing out where the government (and society at large) is failing”, it’s a harder job yet to speak of solutions, of improvements, of realistic steps to take to truly realize a better world.
Therefore I’m starting a new category of posts, which I’ll just call Solutions for simplicity’s sake.
Let’s start with a simple one, that won’t require major political or societal reform or ten billion euros:
1 – Problem: Cars parked on sidewalks
Why is this even a “problem”? Well it’s certainly a safety issue, as it both impedes the flow of pedestrians trying to walk on those sidewalks (and whom may, sometimes, be forces to walk in the road) as well as partially or wholly blocking cars trying to drive down the selfsame street.
Furthermore, last time I looked, it’s completely illegal to park on those sidewalks. They were paid for with public money to be used by the (walking) public and are not privately-owned driveways for the convenience of the car owner.
Solution(s): I can’t speak for all cities in Romania but Cluj-Napoca already owns a few wreckers (Rom: masina de tractare/ridicare) and it’s time to put them to use. Tow away those offending vehicles to a city-owned lot and start charging high fees for both the tow as well as for every night the vehicle is in the lot.
Fee to tow your car: 50 lei
Every night in the lot: 100 lei
Anyone who owns and operates a motor vehicle is, by definition, not poor. If you’ve got enough money to pay for taxes, fees, registration, insurance, repairs and fuel, you can afford to pay to retrieve your car from the city impound lot.
If the car isn’t retrieved in 30 days (or the owner can’t pay the fine), sell the car with the proceeds going to the city budget.
Complaint: Oh, you can’t do that! Where am I going to park? Don’t you know I’m a big, important person who has to go places? And anyway I’ve been parking on the sidewalks since “forever” and it’s never been a problem before.
Rebuttal: Really, would it kill you to park on another street and walk a few hundred meters? We pedestrians manage to walk all over town just fine. Are you driving an ambulance or a fire truck? No? Well then you’re not in that much of a hurry. And having no convenient places to park doesn’t excuse breaking the law. If more parking is required then that’s a separate issue that needs to be addressed. Don’t confuse your laziness and inconvenience with justification to break the law.
Furthermore, if you don’t stop parking your car on the sidewalk, I’m going to start walking over the top of your car, leaving a trail of muddy boot prints on your windscreen. Yes, I will :)