Solutions: Part 1

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 :)

12 thoughts on “Solutions: Part 1

  1. Prea putine locuri de parcare. Asta e 1.
    2 este ca, desi sunt parcari amenajate in ultimii ani (in Timisoara – de exemplu) , majoritatea locurilor sunt ocupate de catre cei cu abonament( centru, langa hotel Timisoara). Eu trebuie sa parchez in ***ă la intrarea in oras cand ma nimeresc pe acolo.In Arad, sistem automat, pana m-am dus sa bag banu pt ticket, masina disparuse. Da, automatul era la mama dracu dupa colt. Mersi.
    3 este ca desteptii aia cu ridicarile de masini blocheaza toata strada pt 1 om care nu are telpark sau cum se cheama taxa de parcare. Fraierii stau si asteapta,nu?Si nici nu le poti zice nimic, ca is cu politaiul de la rutiera langa ei. Dar, in aceleasi conditii -politaiul langa- ei pot sa parcheze oriunde, sa treaca pe rosu, sa forteze dreapta care e VERDE OPTIONAL daca e liber si etc si etc, ca nu fac romane aci, stiti despre vorbesc.
    4 nu gasesc acum(caut si revin, daca e nevoie)- institutiile publice trebuie sa aiba un minim de locuri de parcare pt “clienti”- 10 parca. Politia Rutiera Timis( unde se fac constatarile pt accidente, nu mai stiu strada, e lipita de liceul Henri Coanda parca) a avut acu` ceva ani(nu mai are) au facut “spatii verzi” in locul parcarilor.Min Finantelor are ditamai parcarea proiectata, dar le trebuie si un om care sa le spuna si cum sa faca sa nu fie inundata la prima ploaie. Concluzie, daca nu se poate parca, parchezi cum poti. In Timisoara- pe acelasi stalp- semn rutier: OPRIREA INTERZISA. Sub el, semnul de la TELPARK , cica am voie totusi sa opresc daca dau banu`. Deci? AM voie sa opresc acolo sau nu?-Am dat aceste exemple pt ca am vazut masini ridicate din acele 2 locuri-finante si politie rutiera-unde in nici un caz nu m-am dus sa ma plimb sau sa stau la o cafea si am lasat masina parcata de smecher ce sunt eu… Am vazut si Mercedes si Golf si Volvo sau orice masina care striga” soferul are bani” ridicate la Electro sau UVT, DIN MJLOCUL altor masini mai “putini aratoase”. A mea included, in Arad, cand automatul ala ERA DUPA COLT.760 lei m-a costat, banii mei,pe masina de serviciu. Nu vreau sa intru in polemici de genul” la ce iti trebuie masina” . Am treaba pe acolo prin natura jobului. Seful nu ma intreaba ce si cum, zice doar get things done.
    PS: Sam, im not to confident in my english, that`s why i write in Romanian. Hope u can understand my point read between the lines.Thank you.


  2. To me, the problem is clear: too many cars.

    And why? Because we have imprinted the idea that we should own the things we use. Romanians don’t know what it means to rent a car. So, we buy a car even if we use it once every few months.

    It’s exactly like in America, where there is a lot of people which own massive cars that they use just to get to work and they complain that gas is expensive. Fortunately, the things are changing over there. They’re trying to go green and buy hybrids.

    Anyway, the problem is the same: educating the masses to think not only for their own benefit, but also for the others’.


  3. Shockingly, Miercurea Ciuc seems to be leading the way on parking in Romania. We have (for the last 18 months) a very well policed system, which involves clamping rather than towing (obviously clamping has its disadvantages, not least that cars in the way are not moved). Parking is monitored very heavily, and offending cars are clamped within minutes of being illegally parked (or if the owner does buy a pay and display ticket in legal spaces). The owners then call the company who come very quickly and release the car on payment of a fairly hefty fine. Residents buy an annual pass which allows you to park anywhere (legal) in the city for the whole year.

    I’m sure there is some corruption in places in the system (this is Romania after all), but amazingly this seems to be working.


  4. ‘I’m going to start walking over the top of your car, leaving a trail of muddy boot prints on your windscreen.’

    A fearsome female American lawyer did this in Bucharest years ago, in high heels, cracking the windscreen of the offending car in the process. The owner of the car sued… and lost. Drivers are obliged to leave a specified amount of space (I think it is 1 metre) for pedestrians: if they do not, feel free to walk over cars blocking the pavement.

    As for towing cars away, this is all well and good in properly functioning countries with a justice system not rotten to the core. In Romania the system simply gets abused, with the companies employed to tow cars away often picking up cars which are in fact legally parked.


      1. That wouldn’t work in Bucharest since the number of organized parking spaces is just over 10% of the requirement, which is why there’s such a frenzy to build parking lots.


      2. You’re not entitled to a parking spot, if you don’t have one you can park in a different city/village or sell your car. 75% of Manhattan residents do not own a car .. and there are 1 million cars in Bucharest


      3. Actually, you are, especially when it comes to residential parking. Most of the residential areas in Bucharest have no designated parking spaces, and at less than 150,000 parking spaces for over 1,300,000 cars in a city with chaotic friving patterns (this isn’t Manhattan with well defined zoning), it’s ridiculous.


    1. > “Drivers are obliged to leave a specified amount of space (I think it is 1 metre) for pedestrians”.

      Yes, 1 meter it is. My colleague’s car was towed away because it was parked on the sidewalk with less than 1 meter left for pedestrians.


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